The Best Beer To Pair With Buffalo Wings, According To An Expert

Beer and Buffalo wings were made for each other, plain and simple — though choosing the right pairing can get a bit more complicated. So how do you pick the best beer for your next basket of chicken wings? We asked Jeff Tyler, head brewer and co-owner of Colorado's Spice Trade Brewery + Kitchen, who gave Tasting Table exclusive expert advice on how to pair combine these two classics. "I would recommend something light, effervescent and crisp," Tyler told us. "A Mexican lager would be my top choice." 

Sometimes our favorite version of one thing may clash with our favorite of another –- you may love ice cream, and you may love chicken salad, but both together? Pass. In this case, just because you love a hoppy IPA doesn't mean that IPA loves spicy buffalo sauce. In fact, Tyler said, "Hops can actually make spicy food taste MORE spicy so I'd stay away from IPA's unless you're a glutton for pain. The spice and acidity need something to help clean your palate between bites, without filling you up, so a Mexican lager is really the perfect beer to do that."

The right kind of spice

Because it can aggravate the spiciness of Buffalo sauce, you may want to avoid overly-hopped beers when eating wings. However, if you're the type of person who wants even more heat with your wings, Jeff Tyler told us you can find it in the beer you choose. "If you want to amp up the spice level, a chili beer like our Jalapeno Mexican lager would really hit the spot," he said. But if you don't have plans to be in Greenwood Village, Colorado to get your hands on Spice Trade's Jalapeno Lager in the near future, there are other chili-spiced beers that are readily available around the country.

Down in Wilson, North Carolina, Casita Brewing Company's Fiesta Fiesta Lager is made with Tajín Clásico chili/lime seasoning, lime juice, and habanero. Because it's a lager, it's got that crisp, acidic flavor that Tyler recommends to cleanse your palate between wings along with Tajín's beautiful background heat. You might also consider Evil Twin Brewing's ET Stay Home 8 from New York City. This brew, made with pineapple and guava fruits, is a tropical twist on chili beer; it's lightly sweet and fruity, but finishes with a kick of chili. The citrus acidity would make a great companion to your next basket of Buffalo wings.