Food people mark the seasons in a different way. Plant people mark it by what to plant when, what to prune, what to seed. Fashion people pin the crap out of new wardrobes. The acting crowd doesn’t have weather seasons, they have “pilot season,” “award season,” “I-hope-my-show-doesn’t-get-canceled season.” We all have our things. 

Beer and food follow similar patterns. For beer people, we have “session ale season,” “wet hop beer season,” “barrel aged beer season,” “fruit beer season” and so forth.  

Food seasons, although weather dependent in most ways, hinge on what we can cook. Sure, you can grill in 10-degree weather, knee deep in snow, but the first time you can do it in flip-flops and a tank top is moment-marker in the year. The first tomatoes of the year that are grown in the Northwest ground remind you of how incredible they really taste when not grown in a greenhouse in New Jersey. The blood oranges leave the store just as the local peaches start to peek their heads out. It’s thrilling. 

So, fire up that grill — donning your flip-flops and tank top and maybe celebrating America’s birthday — and give these chicken wings a go, marinated for hours in Fremont Brewing Dark Star, an imperial oatmeal stout. Keep the Fremont handy, as you’ll want to pair it with something bold and refreshing in this type of weather, like Fremont’s Sky Krazen hazy pale ale.  

Grilled Beer and Brown Sugar Wings 

Serves 4–6 

2 pounds chicken wings 
2 tablespoons Kosher salt 
24 ounces Fremont Brewing Dark Star imperial oatmeal stout  
1 cup golden-brown sugar, packed 
¼ cup Dijon mustard 
¼ cup stout beer 
1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce 

Lay the wings in an even layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle on all sides with salt. Pour the beer over the chicken until submerged (if chicken isn’t submerged, add additional beer, cold water or chicken broth until just submerged). Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours. 

Remove chicken from brine, rinse well and lay on a stack of paper towels covered by additional paper towels to dry. Allow chicken to dry for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Stir together the remaining ingredients. Brush the chicken with the glaze until well coated. Grill the wings on all sides until cooked through, brushing with the glaze while the chicken cooks. Serve hot.  

Special to Sip Northwest, Jackie Dodd (AKA @TheBeeroness) is an award-winning beer and food writer and photographer based in Seattle. Her third book, “LUSH,” is due out later this year. This recipe originally ran on her comprehensive beer-and-cooking website, The Beeroness, in 2016.