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'Buffalo Wing Lager' still a pipe dream for Buffalonians

By Samantha Wulff
On April 10, 2013


Buffalonians will have to keep dreaming when it comes to combining their two favorite things -
beer and chicken wings.
Flying Bison Brewing Company and KegWorks, a local online beer equipment retailer, teamed
up to successfully get the city's hopes up on April 1. They released a promotional video and
statement revealing their new Buffalo Wing Lager, both of which were completely fabricated.
While the over-animated expressions of the promo video actor and the promise of a chicken
wing in every bottle should have tipped us off, wishful thinking won out. Chicken flesh floating in
beer seemed ridiculous, but the story on PRWEB reported that the beer was made with cayenne
pepper hops, which made the idea seem more realistic.
Flying Bison brewer Tim Herzog said that KegWorks decided to help them pull off the elaborate
April Fool's joke.
"All of the Buffalo beer guys know each other," he said. "They're all good folks."
KegWorks really did just celebrate its 15th anniversary, and the fake lager stunt was a humorous
way to commemorate a landmark year. Flying Bison made sure not to leave beer enthusiasts
hanging; they rolled out the first barrels of their summer beer, Buffalo Kolsch 716, at the Buffalo
Bisons game on April 4.
Although some breweries have come out with spicy beers in the past, like the Jalapeño Pepper
Ale from Bent River Brewing Company in Illinois, Herzog said that the idea of cayenne pepper in
beer is "nearly impossible to pull off."
He said that the recipe is unpredictable and could spark government intervention. Government
regulation says that the amount of beer in each container has to be exactly the same as what is
printed on the side. Having a pepper in a bottle makes it very difficult to have the same amount of
beer in each bottle.
The government also needs to know that the peppers in the beer are sanitary, and can become
curious as to how they were sanitized, if at all.
The bottom line is that this beer would be too much of a hassle to make. Plus, it may not have
been very enjoyable with a plate of wings.
"The sort of dirty secret is that alcohol and beer beef up the heat," said Herzog.
Mixing vinegar and hot sauce from the wings with the alcohol and carbonation in beer make for a
very hot combination. Adding cayenne pepper to this could be a recipe for disaster.
Even if a brave soul wanted to tackle a chicken wing-inspired beer, mixed sentiments forecast no
promise of success.
"I would if it tasted like food," said student Marybeth Calabrese.
I would try it but I don't know if I would like it. I would be afraid," said another student,
Stephanie Villafranca.
The joke seemed to be in good taste, receiving more laughs than scorn.
A Mr. Goodbar cleaning staff member knew nothing of the joke but said that it "sounds like a
riot." Cole's Bar staff member Mike Shatzel said nobody had even asked for the beer. Maybe
patrons were not so easily fooled, or knew that it was too good to be true.
CW 23 had pointed to the possibility of the lager being a joke on their April 1 show as well, but
neither Flying Bison nor KegWorks has yet to make a formal "gotcha" statement. They assume
that through CW 23 and word of mouth that everyone will eventually be clued in.
Buffalo may not be getting the fabled Buffalo Wing Lager that would have made our city proud,
but we have good beer, good food, and good local companies that can pull off a good joke. How
upset can we really be?
Samantha Wulff can be reached at

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