I have a habit of holding onto beers way too long that I shouldn’t be holding onto, and I tend to drink the ones right away that I should probably hold onto for a time. Well, this review is way late to the party, but this beer saved my bacon, and my chicken wings. See yesterday was my youngest son’s 12th birthday. As is our usual custom at our house he got to pick what he wanted for dinner. He chose Chicken wings, mostly because he wanted them for the Superbowl, but we had something else. So he had a hankering, and of course on his birthday we as his parents were going to indulge him.
I have a recipe for barbecue chicken wings that take beer in both the marinade and the barbecue sauce. The only problem was that it calls for an Australian beer, and I have traditionally used Foster’s Lager for this. However I forgot to pick up the Beer for the wings. I’ll be damned if I am going to run into town to pick up an Australian beer when I have a whole garage full of perfectly good brews to choose from…but what beer?…
I chose a Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot that had been sitting in my garage for over a year. I was wanting something that would impart a little more flavor to my wings, but not overpower them or the barbecue sauce like a stout might. I chose this brown ale from Lagunitas, which I think is a one run brew. At least I haven’t seen it since it was released back around December 2009.
This turned out to be a stroke of genius. Not only did it infuse the meat of the wings with a slightly roasted nutty flavor, it made the Barbecue sauce very rich and had a much deeper flavor than the previous times I have made it with an Australian beer.
The 22 oz bomber was the perfect size for this, because I used about half the bottle for the wings, and then I could drink the other half, just right. The beer itself, was a relatively nondescript brown ale. It was good in the same way many brown ales are good, but it was nothing special to drink. What made it a lot more enjoyable was sitting in the garage with a couple of my sons and shooting the breeze while smoking a Perdomo 10th Anniversary Cigar on a sunny and cool day with the garage door open and my boys by my side.
In thinking back now, this was a great choice for the wings. Everyone loved them and said it was my best batch of barbecue wings ever! That is a pretty ringing endorsement from a pretty tough crowd in my house. And I owe it all to the change in beer. From a fizzy yellow lager to a rich malty brown ale, the difference was amazing and well worth the extra dollar or two for the better beer. Now I’m thinking about a Sam Smith’s Yorkshire Stengo chili. Don’t stop me, I’m on a roll…
UPDATE: Thanks to a guy that calls himself “The Wookie” I have a link to the actual recipe I used. It is a bit more confusing than in my book, because it lumps the marinade ingredients into the list of all ingredients. The first 6 ingredients (except for the wings themselves) are for the marinade. The remainder are for the Barbecue sauce. I make a ton of wings and I double the sauce for my brood of 6 people (including 3 hungry male types). To get the recipe click here.