It’s tough to break the mold when it comes to cooking chicken wings, but a creative sauce can make all the difference.

Enter Crooked Ewe Brewery. The industrial-style brewpub serves proprietary beer concoctions, and some truly unique food.

With offerings named Whoa Mamma, Couscous and Tofu, and Ewe Tso, it’s easy to be intimidated by the menu. But don’t worry, dishes such as burgers, tacos and nachos are served up in case you are not inclined to try something new. Fortunately, the Crooked Ewe team has put its own twist on the classics, too.

The bone-in chicken wings at The Crooked Ewe in South Bend. (Flavor 574 photo/Michael Tomko)
The bone-in chicken wings at The Crooked Ewe in South Bend.
(Flavor 574 photo/Michael Tomko)

Better still, the brewpub is gracious enough to serve up one of my favorite classics — wings.

The wings are described on the menu as being brined and smoked with a barrel-aged hot sauce. Although these wings were large and cooked through, I wouldn’t consider them any juicier than any other fried wing I’ve had. They are jumbo sized though and none of the wings came out disappointingly small.

The sauce is where you get the unique flavors contained in Crooked Ewe’s wings. Imagine Frank’s Redhot sauce, but without the vinegary bite; you get the flavor of a buffalo sauce without the sweetness of a barbecue sauce, and you don’t have that tangy strong aftertaste. There is also a subtle smokiness to the flavor. It’s a different sauce then I have had before: if you are turned off by the bite of a normal buffalo wing, this one is for you.

Two pours of Crooked Ewe’s beer. (Flavor 574 photo/Danielle Waldron)

It is advertised as a hot sauce, but I would only give it a 2 out of 4 on the heat scale, which works out with these wings since you get a fuller taste of the flavor than having it drowned out in spice.

The cost? The price is at a premium, $9 for seven wings. At 129 cents a wing, it’s one of the highest costs I’ve seen for wings in this area. I would suggest not getting them as a full meal, but to keep this choice as an appetizer to share with others.

Ultimately, Crooked Ewe serves up some fancy food — unique to what you might get on a typical night out — as well as unique takes on classic food and some tasty handcrafted beer.

Crooked Ewe is open form noon to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from noon to midnight Friday and Saturday. The brewpub is located at 1047 Lincolnway E., South Bend.

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