In the bowl of a standing mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Mix by swishing with your hand. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 5 minutes. If it hasn’t foamed, your yeast is dead and you need to try again with new yeast.
On low speed with the dough hook attachment, add the beer, melted butter, flour, and salt. When combined, turn up the speed to medium. Knead until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 4-5 minutes. If the dough is still too wet, you can add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.
Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and then lightly oil the bowl with a flavorless oil, like sunflower seed, canola, or vegetable. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or seal the container with a lid, and place in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, ~50-60 minutes.
Preheat to 450F. Bring the water to boil with the baking soda.
Line two baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper. Lightly grease with oil. Set aside.
Lightly oil the surface you plan to use to work the dough. Turn out the dough on the surface, divide into 8 equal pieces, and roll each piece out into a long rope, ~2 feet long.
To shape the pretzels, make a U-shape with the rope, twist the parallel arms across each other twice, and press the ends into the bottom of the U to form the pretzel.
Boil the pretzels, 1-2 at a time, for ~30 seconds, ladling the warm water over the tops of the pretzels.
As they finish, transfer them to the prepared sheet pans, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle with salt.
Bake until golden brown, 11-14 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
If the yeast doesn't foam, it is dead. DO NOT USE IT. Your recipe will fail.
Feel free being a little rough with the dough. It won't get hurt. When pressing the two ends of the U to form the pretzel shape, you can really press them in there if they aren't sticking easily.
The recipe works best with sunflower seed or canola oil. You can use any flavorless oil, but I have found that avocado oil does not work well for this recipe.
Use a timer for perfect results! You don't want to over-boil the pretzels.