How to Make It
In a small bowl, combine water and yeast with a fork until yeast is dissolved. Add honey and stir until dissolved; allow to sit until very foamy, about 6 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and salt. Add yeast sponge, beer, and butter. Use a large wooden spoon to stir the mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Use hook attachment to knead dough on medium-high for 10 minutes, making sure that no flour is unincorporated at the base of the bowl. Place into a well greased bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down and transfer to a well floured surface. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Working one at a time, and keeping the remaining dough covered with a damp cloth, use your fingers to roll each portion out into a rope about 1/2-inch thick and 28-inches long. Keep flouring the surface as needed to prevent sticking. (Note: it will take several times of rolling as the dough will continually shrink back.) Take the rope and make a horseshoe shape, with the two ends of the rope closest to yourself. Lift the two ends while leaving the rest of the rope on the counter. Twirl the ends around each other once so that each end is back on the side it started on, creating a twist in the dough. Then, keeping the two ends separate from each other, press the end in your right hand on the top right side of the arch and the left end on the top left side of the arch, creating the pretzel shape. Transfer pretzel to a floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and repeat with remaining dough portions.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Make the Water Solution: On the stove, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl with the baking soda. (Note: it will bubble dramatically.) Whisk the solution until the baking soda is dissolved and until you can comfortably touch the water. One at a time, lower the pretzels into the solution and allow them to float in the solution for 20 seconds before transferring to prepared baking sheets. Beat together egg and water and brush pretzels with egg wash. Sprinkle pretzels with desired toppings.
Place baking sheets on top and middle rack of oven. Bake, switching baking sheets onto opposite racks halfway through baking, until the pretzels are a deep gold brown, 12 to 15 minutes.