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Pumpkin Spice Trail: Buffalo Wild Wings

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Pumpkin Spice Trail: Buffalo Wild WingsPhoto by Miriam Bowers Abbott.
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The wisdom behind Pumpkin Spice Ale has always been subject to question. Granted, now is the right time of year for adding pumpkin spice to things, and pumpkin spice is good in lots of foods. But beer? The combo seems suspect.

BW3 (or BW2, since it dumped the “Weck” and became just Buffalo Wild Wings) has upped the ante. This year it’s rolled out Pumpkin BBQ Ale Sauce Chicken Wings. All of that — “pumpkin BBQ,” beer and chicken — in one mouthful. As luck would have it, it’s available here at its Columbus wings locations.

While the seasonal pumpkin spice sweets and soups are ubiquitous enough to qualify as background noise, the wings offering is surely worthy of at least one try. After all, it might be good, and if it’s not good, it will at least be somewhat interesting.

So, the pumpkin option is there on the menu among the 80 zillion other flavors you might choose (you know, “Blazin” and “Teriyaki”). While it’s referred to as “Pumpkin BBQ Ale,” the promo materials mention the spice element prominently. It takes a minute to get your order, but that seems to always be the case at any BW3. The wings glisten in a dark burgundy colored sauce. They smell yeasty-sour, like beer, honestly, which makes sense, given the ale component. The sauce in which they’re tossed is spiked hot, a little sweet, with a cinnamon taste, but no obvious pumpkin flavor.

But, indeed, the cinnamon element does suggest pumpkin spice. If you were blindfolded, you’d probably guess that the wings are designed as something for autumn.

In terms of a verdict, personal preferences run hard toward a traditional heat or something with lots of garlic. It’s not bad, though, and its spiked heat keeps it interesting. It’s not difficult to finish the petite knobs of savory poultry, and celebrate the season while it’s here.

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