For the schnitzel:
12 to 15 hard Bavarian pretzels, broken into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
4 large eggs
Safflower or other frying oil
4 to 6 large cutlets pork loin, beef top round or butterflied chicken breast pounded 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
For the beer sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup lager beer
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 rounded tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
2 1/2 to 3 cups (3/4 pound brick) shredded sharp cheddar with horseradish or sharp cheddar
For the toppings:
12 slices meaty bacon, cooked on a broiler pan at 375°F until crisp then cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
8 Gherkin pickles, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Place pretzel pieces in a food processor and pulse into pretzel crumbs the consistency of panko; place them in a shallow dish. Fill 2 more shallow dishes with flour and eggs and season everything with salt and pepper.
For the sauce, heat a saucepot over medium heat. Add butter and melt then whisk in flour. Add milk, let thicken slightly then whisk in beer and thicken. Season with granulated garlic and onion and cayenne. Remove pot from heat and stir in mustard and shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
Coat cutlets first in flour then egg and then breadcrumbs. Working in batches, fry cutlets in 1/8 inch of oil in a very large skillet over medium to medium-high heat until deep golden. Keep warm in low oven on wire rack-lined baking sheet.
Top schnitzels with a squeeze of lemon, some beer sauce, bacon, chives and pickles, and serve.