Some nights you might find Josh Briggs rocking out with his guitar at clubs west of Boston. By day he runs Wicked Twisted Pretzels in Grafton with his brother Shawn, a former rock musician who also plays guitar. A Bavarian pretzel shop in the neighborhood where the brothers grew up in upstate New York inspired them to start their own pretzel business. The allure of the salty, squishy snack stayed with them, and over time they developed a recipe in Shawn’s kitchen. Josh, 43, and Shawn, 47, hand twist Bavarian-style pretzels (large, soft, and salty) from fresh dough they make with organic yeast and malted barley flour. Boiled, baked, and salted, the handcrafted pretzels — a half-foot wide — have a crisp mahogany crust that gives way to the bready, chewy, squishy inside with a trace of nutty sweetness from the barley. “When we make pretzels, it smells like we’re making beer,” says Josh. Pretzels are a model pairing for beer, so it stands to reason that a number of local breweries — Dorchester Brewing Co., Somerville Brewing Co., Medusa Brewing Co. in Hudson, Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, and others — sell the pretzels. Now with a commercial kitchen, the Briggs brothers turn out thousands of pretzels each week. The brothers also developed a line of Wicked Twisted mustards from a family recipe, with flavors including smoky maple, jalapeno, and tangy (2.5 ounces for $4). It’s not a traditional Bavarian accompaniment, but totally delicious regardless. Pretzels are also available at Whole Foods Market in the bakery department ($2.95 each) and frozen (4 for $5.99) at selected locations. Mustards are available at Whole Foods Market and other select locations.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND