1 12-oz. bottle of ale, divided (I used a local pilsner)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
About 15 pretzel rods
Wax paper, for wrapping
1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of the ale to a simmer and cooked until reduced and syrupy, about 20 minutes. This will yield about 1 teaspoon of concentrated ale flavoring. Set aside.
2. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan or two 9x9-inch pans. Combine the remaining beer, both sugars, the butter, heavy cream and corn syrup in a heavy 4 or 5 quart pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The butter will melt and the mixture will begin to boil.
3. Continue to cook until a candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees F (firm ball stage). When the correct temperature has been reached stir in the ale reduction and remove from the heat. Pour into the prepared pan(s) and top with the pretzel rods.
Let cool for several hours or place in the refrigerator until firm. (If refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.) Remove the caramel block from the pan and place pretzel-side up on a cutting board. Cut wax paper into 5x5-inch squares and wrap caramels.
Note: Caramels must be wrapped or they will lose their shape (see example above).