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Wings and Beer by Erin Turvey

With the end of July upon us we are reminded, once again, of a true match made in heaven. We’re not talking about Romeo and Juliet, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra or Napoleon and Josephine. The match we’re talking about is simpler, but so much more delicious. Wings and Beer. National Chicken Wing Day is July 29th, and we’re gearing up by taking you through some of our favorite wing and beer pairings.

If you are looking to cut things like salty or sweetness, we suggest an IPA. The flavor profile of the hops and the residual sugars cut through the saltiness to perfectly compliment most wings. IPAs also are the perfect complement to go along with a blue cheese or umami-forward dip, as the sweetness in some IPAs can bring balance to the experience. We put three different IPAs to the test to see how they paired with some classic wings:

First up, Hop Showers from Other Half Brewing Company is a beautifully hop forward beer. Currently, Other Half only has physical locations in New York City and Rochester – but fear not, a D.C. location is in the works, and their beers are regularly available at Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg. This batch of Hop Showers got a special high density hop charge with Citra and Amarillo hops. The beer has a nice bitterness and slight sweetness that really help to through the saltiness of a nice dry rubbed wing – or any wing, really!

Next, we tried a local Maryland favorite – Snake Dog IPA from Flying Dog Brewery. This classic West Coast style brew is aggressively hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Warrior, Simcoe and Columbus hops. The strong hop profile is the result of adding the hops during the boil, which extracts more bittering agents from the hops. Coupled with the slightly-piney clean finish of this beer, it makes a perfect pairing for wings with a sweet or citrus flavor profile.

Nimble Giant Double IPA was the last IPA we tested. This beer from Troegs Independent Brewing in central Pennsylvania is hopped with Azacca, Mosaic and Simcoe. The beer is brewed with both Pilsner and Vienna malts, giving it both a light sweetness and a piney finish. We got some tropical vibes from this beer, which coupled with its sweet malty backbone, make it the perfect brew to counter a jerk or tropical flavor profile, while also pairing nicely with a classic buffalo wing.

If hoppy beers aren’t your thing, a craft lager is a crowd pleaser that will do the trick. American Lagers are typically easy drinking beers that even that friend who only drinks Bud Light will enjoy. Lagers are typically lighter beers (in color and flavor) with a clean and crisp finish that can cleanse your palette between wings.

We paired our wings with a core brew from Denizens Brewing Co.. PGC Premium Lager is made from European malts and a small amount of flaked rice. It is a light bodied beer, but still flavorful, that is a perfect crushable summer beer to pair with any type of wing. Pro Tip: this is the perfect Maryland summer beer – it’s not only easy drinking but is also the perfect beer to use for cooking. Try it next time you are steaming crabs or other seafood or try using it with a healthy amount of Old Bay to marinate chicken wings at your next barbecue.

While this is a blog on beer and wings, we know that many people just don’t like beer. If you’re not a beer drinker, period, try a hard seltzer with your chicken wings! With the popularity of mass-produced hard seltzers, many local breweries are jumping in on the trend and are producing their own hard seltzers. We also tried Aslin Beer Company’s new line of hard seltzers, VIBEZ, with our wings to see how they held up! The lime hard seltzer from Aslin is the perfect drink to pair with wings for any non-beer drinker. It is light, refreshing, and the citrus flavor complements most wing flavors without being overpowering. The acid in citrus cuts through flavors that might be overwhelming, providing a much needed balance to the palette.

Whether you try one of the beers we recommend going with your wings, or you stick with your old standby, we hope you have a great National Wing Day!


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