The Best Beers to Pair With Chicken Wings

This beer pairing may be a no-brainer since wings and beer go together like PB and J. But beers come in all shapes and flavors, so some will accentuate particular wings moreso than others. Read on to find out which beer is best with your favorite chicken wings.

Here's a list of the best beers to pair with chicken wings! It may be an easy pairing, but some beers accentuate flavors more than others! via CaretoPair.com

You may remember this post I did about a month ago on which wine to pair with wings...which is a difficult pairing because wine and wings are not best friends like beer and wings.

There I said it. Sorry, wine lovers. Beer wins this round. Can you imagine a night at the bar with your favorite basket of wings without a cold, delicious beer alongside it? (But not too cold, because icy cold beer has no flavor [wink wink].) Beer naturally works well with wings because the carbonation cools down the spicy flavors in whatever wing sauce you've got going on. If the wings are sweet, the malt in the beer will also complement that. Whether you want to accentuate the spiciness of the wings or calm it down is another story though. Depending on if you can handle the heat or not determines which beer you should have alongside.

Here's a list of the best beers to pair with chicken wings! It may be an easy pairing, but some beers accentuate flavors more than others! via CaretoPair.com

If You Like It Hot and Want It Hotter

...then go with a hoppy beer. Hops in beer actually accentuate the heat in foods, so the IPA you have next to your wings will actually make those wings taster hotter. So for people like me that can't handle the heat, IPAs are a no-no. But people like my husband? Bring on the heat! The hoppier your beer, the more it will accentuate the spiciness of the wings, so here's a list of beers to pick out going from medium to most-hoppy (with my suggestions in parenthesis):

  • Hoppy Lager (Anchor Lager, Sudwerk California Lager)
  • American Amber Ale (Speakeasy Prohibition Ale)
  • American Pale Ale (Victory Headwaters, Sierra Nevada)
  • India Pale Ale (Firestone Union Jack, Great Basin Icky IPA)
  • Double IPA (Harpoon Leviathon, Dogfish Head 90 Minute)

If You Eat Hot Wings But Want to Cool Down With Beer

...then go for a malt-focused ale or straightforward lager. If hops aren't at the forefront of the beer profile then surely the malt will be, and malt will ease the heat of those chicken wings so you can cool down. These are my favorite beers to pair with spicy wings because I like to get some spice but then cool down from the refreshing swig of beer. Basically, malt (the grains in beer) provide the sweetness in beer, which is balanced by the addition of hops. Beer that doesn't have a lot of hops in it will therefore be more malty, which will cool down the spice in hot chicken wings. This includes all of those mass-market American Lagers too, so don't worry about pairing one of them with your wings (I give you permission!). Here are some of my suggestions of beer to cool down your wings:

  • Oktoberfest/Marzen (Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen, Victory Festbier)
  • English Brown Ale (Newcastle, Sam Smith's)
  • Pilsner (North Coast Scrimshaw, Firestone Pivo)
  • Hefeweizen/Wheat Ale (New Belgium Snapshot, Weihenstephaner)
  • Kolsch
Here's a list of the best beers to pair with chicken wings! It may be an easy pairing, but some beers accentuate flavors more than others! via CaretoPair.com

If you Like Sweet or Tangy Wings

If spice just ain't-yo-thang, don't worry--beer will still keep you covered. Any of the above beers in the "cool you down" category will work just fine, but you also have some other options. Belgian ales in particular are going to be your friend with sweet wings, because almost all of them have some sort of fruity spiced component going on. Whether its the dark fruit flavors  like plum, raisin and dried cherry you get in a Belgian dubbel or the citrus, orangy, peppery character coming from a Belgian tripel, all these flavors will do well with your sweet wings. Here are just a few that will work great:

  • Belgian Dubbel (Chimay Red, Affligem)
  • Belgian Tripel (Westmalle, Unibroue La Fin du Monde)
  • Belgian Dark Strong (Chimay Grande Reserve, Rochefort 8)
  • Belgian Golden Strong (Duvel, North Coast Pranqster)
  • Saison (Saison Dupont, Ommegang Hennepin)
  • Sour Ales (Rodenbach Grand Cru, New Belgium La Folie)
The best list of beers to pair with chicken wings, whether you want them to heat things up or cool things down | CaretoPair.com

Isn't that a lot of beer to choose from?! Holy Moly beer and chicken wings like each other. Bottom line: enjoy the two together and don't think too hard about the pairing...most beers are going to naturally work. Just know that hoppy beers will accentuate the spice in your wings and malty beer will cool the spice down. Happy Pairing!

Thirsty for More? Try Out These Beer Pairings:

Caesar Salad + Helles Lager

What Beer to Pair with Fish and Chips

Beef Carbonnade + Belgian Dubbel

Classic Caesar Salad Paired with Helles Lager

This classic Caesar salad recipe and beer pairing may seem a little simple, but oftentimes the simplest things in life are the best things in life, right?

A classic caesar salad recipe and a beer pairing to go with it! This pairing may seem simple but sometimes the simplest things in life are the best :)

So that bowl of caesar salad in the picture really doesn't look too big but let me assure you that it is. In fact, it may have just been my dinner on a night last weekend when I was feeling particularly lazy. Like, there's-no-food-in-the-house-but-I'm-not-going-grocery-shopping kind of lazy. So I had lettuce, old bread, and a few other staples in the house. Cue: caesar salad for dinner.

Have you ever made caesar salad dressing before?

Why do we even buy dressings in the store anymore??

This salad dressing was impossibly easy to make plus made me feel great that I wasn't downing some store-bought, preservative-packed dressing that I probably would have poured too much onto my salad anyway (aren't we all guilty of that?). It still boggles my mind how we forgot that anything prepackaged in our homes could also be made from scratch.

Anyway, this salad took me a whole 10 minutes to make using ingredients I already had in the kitchen (score!). Do recipes with raw eggs and anchovies scare you? Too bad. Take the risk, its worth it. And no, caesar salad does not taste like anchovies. I promise you its all in your head!

The Pairing

Now onto the important stuff...the beer pairing! Just like this recipe, the beer you pair with it should always be stocked in your fridge: a Munich Helles Lager.

What's that, you ask? I had the same reaction when I first learned about this beer that happens to be the most popular beer style in Bavaria. "Helles" in German means "light", so essentially this is the German equivalent to the light beers we drink here in America...except the Germans actually keep the flavors in their light beers (ooooh...burn).

Helles Lager accounts for about half of Germany's beer consumption because it is light, refreshing, and easy to drink. The style originated in Munich in 1895 by the Spaten Brewery to compete with Pilsner-style beers. Unlike German Pilsner, Helles Lager emphasizes on malt sweetness rather than bittering hops; the beer isn't sweet by any means, but the hops just balance the beer rather than provide a bitter edge. I like to describe these beers as "bready", and the style happens to be one of my go-to's for simple meals like this (and thus why I always have some in the fridge).

And that, my friends, is exactly why we are pairing a Munich Helles Lager with this Caesar Salad instead of a regular ol' Pilsner. Most well-made Pilsners these days contain substantial hop bitterness which might overwhelm this dish. A Munich Helles Lager is light enough to complement the salad while providing carbonation to calm down the bright acidity from the dressing. The lager's "bready"  nature also goes great with the croutons. You could almost say the beer acts as an additional crouton to the salad (and there is no such thing as too many croutons). Like I first said, this pairing is a simple one, but oh is it good.

Examples of Munich Helles Lager

  • Weihenstephaner Original (used in this post!)
  • Spaten Premium Lager
  • Paulaner Premium Lager

If you don't have access to any of these beers, go ahead and pop open your favorite Pilsner with this salad and it will still be delicious. If you have any session beers or "light" versions of beers as well, those will work too. I particularly love the entire lineup of Session Ales from Full Sail Brewing.

The Recipe

If you already have some store-bought Caesar salad dressing in your fridge, go ahead and use it for this pairing, I don't mind! But I'm telling you--homemade is sooooo much better and so easy to make. Thanks to my husband's unusual love for anchovies, we have plenty of canned ones in the pantry. I can't go near the stuff, so I keep a handy tube of anchovy paste stocked for any recipes that call for it. Anchovy paste can be found in any grocery store near the canned anchovies.

Classic Caesar Salad

Author:

Dani

Prep time:

35 mins

Cook time:

3 mins

Total time:

38 mins

Serves:

2 Salads

Serves 2 (or 1 very hungry person!) Original recipe adapted from simplyrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • A few thin slices of baguette (3-4 slices per serving)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste (or one anchovy)
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 lemon, cut in half for juicing
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic cloves very fine and add them to a large bowl with the olive oil. Let sit for 30 minutes (and get yourself a beer!)
  2. Meanwhile, make the croutons: brush the baquette lightly either with butter or a bit of the garlic-oil mixture. Place under a broiler for about 3 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  3. After the oil has sat for 30 minutes, add the egg, anchovy paste, and parmesan. Squeeze one half of a lemon into the bowl and whisk to combine. Taste, and add more lemon juice as needed. I used about 3/4 of a lemon total. Taste again and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Break up the lettuce leaves with your hands and toss in with the dressing, coating all the lettuce leaves well. Place the salad into bowls and break the toasted baquette slices over to create croutons (you can also leave some full slices on the side like I did).
  5. Shave additional parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.

3.5.3208

Thirsty for More? Try these Pairings!

Battered Fish and Chips Paired with Cream Ale

Homemade Brownies Paired with Sweet Stout

Whiskey Barbecue Chicken Paired with Pale Ale

Fish and Chips Beer Pairing

What beer do you pair with Fish and Chips? An English staple, fish and chips screams for an English ale. But this alternative beer pairing won me over.

This recipe came into my life from the back of a case of beer. That's right, on a regular ol' case of seasonal Full Sail Session Cream Ale, their summer offering. I had already poked fun at Andrew for buying this case of cream ale since, in all of my studies, they are the red-headed stepchild of the beer world.

I'm actually being very serious here. In the BJCP guidelines (possibly the best resource to distinguish different beer styles) cream ale is described as "A clean, well-attenuated, flavorful American lawnmower beer". Lawnmower beer?! How is that a term to describe a style of beer? And what kind of brewery would continue making these lawnmower beers? (Joke's on me...New Glarus Spotted Cow and Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, two of my favorite drinking beers, are actually in the Cream Ale category.)

The Beer

Okay, time to put my beer snobbiness away. "Time and a Place", I always say, meaning, every beer has a situation that calls for it. So in the case of cream ales, should we be drinking them while mowing the lawn? (Not recommended.)

Getting to the point, cream ales are not so bad. Actually, they are quite refreshing. They are the craft-beer drinker's option for a light beer with high drinkability without having to reach for a Bud or PBR. They were originally created as an ale to compete with the American lager style. So, they were intended to be light and refreshing. Okay, bad idea to give Andrew crap about buying cream ale. Now he won't share with me.

The Pairing

Disclosure!! These pictures were not taken with Full Sail Session Cream Ale. That's because I had it imprinted in my mind that fish and chips need to be paired with an English ale. Its only right, isn't it? Aren't fish and chips like the national dish of England?

With this dish, Andrew had the cream ale, I had an English ESB. They both went really well with the fish and chips. However, my ESB naturally had a little more bitterness to it. It was good because the bitterness cut through the fatty, fried fish and chips, but for some reason the cream ale just tasted better. The cream ale was nicely balanced between malt sweetness (think corn) and just enough bitterness. I think this cut through the fried fish AND played off the sweetness of the batter. It also went better with the sweet tarter sauce. Even though ESB is one of my favorite beers to pair with food (like in this awesome BLTA sandwich pairing) cream ale won this time. Which is totally awesome.

Examples of Cream Ales

  • Full Sail Summer Seasonal Session Cream Ale (my pairing in this post)
  • Genesee Cream Ale
  • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (Seasonal)
  • New Glarus Spotted Cow

Other Fish and Chips Beer Pairings

Don't have any access to these cream ales or want a beer with a little more going on in it? As I said earlier, English Ales are naturals with fish and chips. And many other styles go with the dish too, thanks to the fried nature of the dish. Try:

  • English Bitter
  • English ESB (Firestone Walkder Double Barrel Ale is the most common American example of this style)
  • English Pale Ale (American styles might be too hoppy though so be careful)
  • Dusseldorf Altbier
  • California Common (such as Anchor Steam)
  • German Pilsner

The Recipe

Once again I'd sincerely like to thank Full Sail Brewing Company for putting this recipe on the back of their case of beer. It turned out absolutely delicious. Make sure you make some homemade tartar sauce to go with this as well!


Session Summer Ale Fish & Chips

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

recipe adapted from the Full Sail Pub recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes, julienned to make french fry strips
  • 11 oz beer (cream ale is what we used)
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless cod fillets, cut into 1-inch wide strips (may be up to 5-6 inches long)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
  2. In a dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees F (stick a wooden spoon handle to see if the oil is hot enough. If bubbles form on the spoon, the oil is ready)
  3. Fry the potatoes until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Keep warm in the oven while making the fish.
  4. Fish: to make the batter, pour the beer into a large bowl. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour into the bowl and add old bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Stir gently until combined.
  5. Pat the fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Drop the fish fillets one by one into the batter to coat evenly, then into the frying oil. Fry each fish and turn frequently in the oil until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. When each fish filet is done, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and onto a baking sheet with paper towels. Keep in the warm oven until all other fish filets are done. Fry the remaining fish in batches until complete.
  7. Serve the fish with the french fries.

Happy Pairing!

Vienna Lager Paired with Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Malty Vienna Lager Paired with Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Cinco de Mayo is merely three weeks away. (And so is...my wedding...when did that sneak up on me?) To commemorate the upcoming holiday, my blogging buddy Kristi from South of Vanilla and I are doing a few collaboration posts celebrating food and wine pairings of Mexico!

First up--We have her amazing Paleo-diet take on tacos, using sweet potatoes! Who knew cinco de mayo could be so healthy? Kristi started her blog about a year ago and focuses on recipes that reflect her primative, paleo-diet lifestyle. Now, I'm not usually one to follow diets (and unfortunately, beer, spirits and wine usually don't fit into the majority of diet regimens) but I'm a big supporter of the Paleo ideology. I'm a big fan of avoiding processed foods at all costs, and many of her recipes allow me to do that. Like this recipe--who would have thought to substitute tortillas for sweet potatoes?! Genius.

I've decided to pair this recipe with my favorite, easy-drinking Mexican beer. No, its not Corona...

Vienna Lager

Vienna-style lager. What is it? Have you ever even heard of it? It is actually a fairly common beer but has somehow been neglected by the craft beer world as a recognized style. Us beer snobs like to associate one commonly-known beer with it, and that would be the Mexican brand Negra Modelo. Why wouldn't we associate a beer from Austria with it?? Because, my friends, unfortunately this style of beer is nearly extinct in its homeland of Vienna. Thanks to the Mexicans, though, the style lives on!

Fun fact: the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria ruled Mexico for three short years. The Mexicans quickly kicked them out, but did like the Vienna-style beer, however, so kept it...along with the polka music. That's right, the Polka-sounding Mexican music we still hear today actually originated while Mexico was under Austrian rule. Isn't it cool how beer opens up a world of historical facts??

Although not as malty as the original Vienna lagers, Negra Modelo exemplifies the style in a very easy-drinking, modern-approach way. Vienna lagers have a rich malty aroma while keeping a clean lager character. They are usually amber or copper colored and have a great, aromatic, off-white foam head. On the palate, you really get that malty breadiness from the Vienna malt, sometimes with a toasty (but not roasted!) characteristic. Hops are there but are well-balanced. This is not a hoppy beer by any means. If you generally like Oktoberfest beers, this is another style to try.

The Pairing

This easy-drinking dark lager goes hand in hand with South of Vanilla's Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. Now, essentially, this recipe is a healthy, paleo-version of the Mexican taco. I love pairing complex dishes like this one with dark beers. Especially malty ones, like Vienna Lager! The sweetness from the potatoes match with the sweetness in the malt. The balanced hops stand up to the ground beef, and altogether, the many flavors of the taco toppings aren't overpowered by any element in the beer. And thanks to the crisp, dry finish of the beer, each new bite of the taco will seem like your first. For this pairing, you don't want any beer that's TOO dark and roasty, which may overpower the more delicate flavors you get from the guacamole and salsa, so a caramel-toned beer like this really solves the equation. Plus, tacos with good Mexican beer? You shouldn't have it any other way! Click here to get the recipe!

Other Examples of Vienna Lager

Although you should DEFINITELY drink Negra Modelo with this Cinco de Mayo dish, there are other great examples of Vienna Lager to try out there:

  • Gordon Biersch Vienna Lager
  • Brooklyn  Lager
  • Saratoga Lager
  • Penn Pilsner
  • Old Dominion Aviater Amber Lager

Happy Pairings!