Beers to Pair with Chicken Wings

If you’re eating wings, you need to be drinking beer. But instead of just your old standby, try one that’ll really compliment your wings. We have the info for you here.

Beers to Pair with Chicken Wings

Wings are best enjoyed with friends. And with beer to wash them down.

Instead of grabbing your standard 12 pack, impress your guests by offering beers that will add a little something extra to your wings. Just as wine can compliment cheese, beer can compliment chicken wings. Really.

Wings are anything but subtle. They can be hot, hot, hot and super salty. Not to mention, all those creamy sauces you dip ’em in. So you need a beer that can play with those big flavors.

Here’s a simple rule to remember:

Hoppy beers play up spice.
Malty ones reduce heat.
Bitter beers serve as palate cleansers.

American pale ales and IPAs have both strong hop and bitter flavors, so you’re getting a twofer. If you want to cut the saltiness of your wings, opt for an IPA, since it’s sweeter. Oh and try an IPA with a blue cheese dip. They pair really well.

If you love barbecue sauce, take a swig of a black IPA. It compliments the sauce’s tanginess with its roasted flavor.

Pilsners work well with mild wings. German Pilsners are hop heavy, meaning they’re very bitter and have a dry finish. Bohemian Pilsners balance the hops with malt, making it creamier. Both are light and easy to drink.

You might have to hunt for a chile beer – most are made by small breweries – but they can add a little something to mild wings. What exactly are chile beers? They’re ales and lagers that have pepper juices and oils added. Some brewers even add whole jalapenos to their beers. Yowza. Flavors range from mild to tear-inducing, so make sure you read the label. I would opt for a mild brew, especially if the wings are spicy.

German Rachbiers with their creamy mouthfeel will tone down spicy foods. Bonus, this beer offers a smoky taste, which can compliment the hottest of wings.

Witbiers come from Belgium, and are unfiltered, so they look cloudy with all that yeast and wheat. This brew also is infused with spices, such as orange peel and coriander, which adds a bite to its crispness. This pairs well with wings flavored with Asian spices.

There’s your beer and wings lesson of the day. Let the games begin!

This originally appeared in January, 2016 and was revised and republished in February, 2017.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.