How to Pair Beer with Steak

Pairing beer with steak can be easy! Just check out the Brewers Association Beer Pairing Chart and there you have it. Just slap a Pale Ale with your steak and you’re good to go with how you pair beer with steak. Best meal ever. Case closed. Ahem, cough-cough, can you feel or sense the sarcasm?  I hope so, I tried to lay it on thick.

Just like everything else here at BeerChow, we try to give a little more detailed tips and possibilities when pairing beer with your food, because we believe it can be so much more!  Let’s push the little chef in all of us to the limits and grow our flavor experiences.

Pairing Steak and Beer

Pairing Beer with your Steak Basics

Okay, so you went to your local supermarket and picked out your favorite cut of steak for dinner.  If you were keeping it easy and don’t have plans on doing anything different with your steak besides simply cooking them to optimal temperature then yes, the BA’s Chart is accurate.  Pair it with your favorite, not too crazy, Pale Ale or Abbey Dubbel.  A couple of choices might be:

  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Chimay Première (Red)
  • St. Bernardus Prior 8
  • Half Acre Daisy Cutter

The subtle bitterness and heavier body seems to pair just fine with a nice juicy steak.  But why stop there.

On a side note; One of the simplest improvements to a steak can be going to your local meat man and spending a few extra bucks for a higher quality meat. Becoming friends with your local butcher can reap great rewards in the long run, not just for steaks, but delicious burgers, brats and special meats. Bringing quality beer to your butcher will always help. I challenge everyone to try an independent butcher shop on your next meat purchase. Or, if you have a Whole Foods near by, it’s hard to beat the quality of their meat. Or if you’re in a remote location and you don’t mind spending a fortune for a good steak try Allen Brothers. You will notice a difference for sure!

Beer Pairing Steak Marinades

One of the easiest ways to match your steak to a specific beer is to marinade your steak with a recipe that calls for beer in the marinade. Simply add your beer to the marinade according to the recipe and then partake in the same beer while devouring your steak. Obviously this process makes it very elementary for pairing beer with steak, plus it broadens your choices for what brand or style of beer you feel like consuming.

Using beer in the marinade is actually a great idea since beer is a nice additive to help tenderize the meat while adding some positive nose-pleasing aromatic notes.  But like we said up above, lets push ourselves a little more.

Choose a marinade (not using beer) that sounds delicious and try to pair your beer to the marinade used.  Example:

  • You can spice up your steak with a marinade that contains cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, etc and then increase the hoppiness of your beer by going to an IPA or Double IPA. One of my favorite IPA’s of all time is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, it screams outdoor grilling and long summer nights.
  • Try using Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and brewing up a nice chocolate reduction for your steak that might pair well with a hearty stout like Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. Don’t be scared.

The point here is: Have fun and try different possibilities.  When you start adding different flavors to your steak pairing you can’t simply add a Pale Ale or Dubbel and you are good to go.

Extra Toppings

Another way to develop an epic pairing with your steak is to choose an extra topping on your steak that compliments the beer and brings everything full circle. Toppings can add a completely different element that can bring your beer choice to a style you might not normally choose for your regular steak pairing. For instance:

  • Add sautee’d mushrooms and pull out your favorite Brown Ale like Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron to go along with it.
  • Who likes bleu cheese on their steak?  One of my favorite steak toppings.  Try pairing a classic barleywine like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot to stand up to the bleu cheese and form an incredible flavor profile!

Steak and Beer Pairing Conclusion

Who doesn’t like steak! Unless your vegetarian (I apologize in advance). Adding different elements to your steak can really open the door to different beer styles that fit in your wheel house.  Seriously, experiment and use these thoughts/tips as a guideline. We believe no one is truly an expert and there are so many possibilities that have not been discovered yet.

Do you have a favorite marinade? Have a great steak pairing recipe? Share your ideas by posting your recipe or leave a comment down below.

About Joe Porter

I am the webmaster/designer of BeerChow.com. Far from a beer pro but I know what I like, and it seems what I like is really good beer.

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