The Science of Craft Beer and Wings

Did you know that the expanding craft beer industry in New Zealand can add $1.6 billion to our economy? It’s no surprise that more people than ever before are discovering the unique flavour profiles that come with this type of beer.

If you want a combination that’s made in heaven, then look no further than beer and wings. Unfortunately, finding the perfect wing and craft beer combinations is easier said than done.

After all, you don’t want two conflicting flavours fighting each other in your mouth. So, what does science have to say about this dilemma? And is there a perfect pairing for each type of wing flavour? In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about beer and wings.

What’s the Actual Science Behind Craft Beer and Wings?

It might feel silly to think about the food science behind craft beer and wing combination. However, it provides a lot of food for thought (sorry for the pun). For starters, let’s look at the common belief that beer helps cool off the spiciness factor in certain wings.

However, as food scientist Nicole Garneau explains, this isn’t always the case. Certain bitter beers, like IPAs and sours, can make your wings spicier. This is because like spice, these beers also irritate your taste buds, making them more sensitive. But, keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Many people enjoy the pain factor when it comes to spicy foods. However, if you’re not looking for the whole “hurts so good” feeling, then fear not.

Certain beer types, like nitro milk stouts, or malty brown ales provide sweet flavours that fight against spiciness. So, if you’re worried about the spiciness, then grab a sweet beer instead of a bitter one.

Best Wing and Craft Beer Pairings

In this section, we pair some classic New Zealand craft beers with your favourite wing flavours. However, keep in mind that these are just suggestions.

We’ve paired wings with craft beers in a way that compliments the flavour profiles of both. However, if you see a different combination that interests you, then go for it! At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.

1. Buffalo Wings with Hazy IPAs

Buffalo wings typically have the perfect balance of a little heat with tangy vinegar flavour. As such, a hoppy, hazy IPA is a great pairing. The hoppy flavour in the beer amps up the spice profile in the buffalo sauce.

And, the cloudy residual sugars leave some room to enjoy the savoury meat. Trust us: buffalo hot wings and hazy IPAs need to be experienced to understand the chemistry of taste.

2. Spicy Morrocan Wings with Nitro Milk Stouts

As we mentioned, craft beers with high sugar content are best for combating food that is too spicy. That’s why nitro milk stouts are great for levelling out especially spicy flavours.

Because of this, we recommend it for people who want to experience the intense heat from spicy Morrocan wings, while enjoying a drink that cools off the pain.

3. Teriyaki Wings with Lagers

Asia-inspired flavours, like teriyaki, bring intense flavour profiles of both heat and sweetness. As such, you don’t want a beer that does too much competition in terms of taste.

As such, the sweet, muted of a lager make it a great pairing with these chicken wings. It always allows a clean finish that allows the teriyaki profile to come through.

4. Whisky & BBQ Wings with English Bitters

BBQ always delivers a smokey, sweet taste with the occasional hint of heat. As such, you want a beer that counters it and balances out all the flavours. That’s why the twisted finish of an English bitter works so well with our whisky & BBQ wings.

5. Sriracha Wings with Pale Ales

Like the garlic chilli sauce Sriracha, pale ales work well with almost anything. However, when you combine them it does turn into something special. Pale ales provide a lot of the same flavours as an IPA, but with more moderate bitterness.

So, it doesn’t distract at all from the delicious taste of Sriracha wings, but only adds a gorgeous aftertaste.

6. Mexican Dry Rub Wings with Sours

There’s a reason why margaritas pair so well with Mexican food. However, instead of a marg, you can always order a refreshing sour to go with your Mexican dry rub wings. Plus, the tart fruit flavours will make the heat in the Mexican spice blend pop.

7. Lemon & Pepper Dry Rub Wings with Pilsners

When it comes to lemon & pepper dry rub wings, you want to try avoiding beers that will add more citrus to the equation. This can fight with and overpower the lemon in the wings.

Because of this, we recommend a pilsner. This type of beer is lightly hopped. So, it leaves behind a refreshing taste that leaves a blank canvas for the lemon & pepper rub to do its thing.

8. Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub Wings with Wheat Beers

Jamaican jerk blends heat with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. So, if you want a beer that perfectly accents these notes of citrus, then try ordering a wheat beer.

Plus, the sweet taste will lower the spiciness levels. If you’re looking for a good appetizer to go with your wings, then look no further than Jamaican jalapenos and pickle bites on our menu. This will perfectly round out the Jamaican flavour profile.

Craving Wings and Craft Beer? Visit Beech Tree in Queenstown

If this article has you craving craft beer and wings, then you aren’t alone. The good news is that Beech Head has everything you need to scratch that foodie itch.

We believe that the combination of NZ exceptional craft beers with fantastic wings is something everyone needs to experience for themselves.

That’s why we offer twenty-three rotating taps with a delicious menu that caters to all tastes. If you’re ready for a great evening that combines great flavour with a laid back atmosphere, then call us today and make your reservation.