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When it comes to eating a big juicy steak, you want a drink that compliments it, not wash it all away. Many people seem to jump straight to red wine when they think steak – and that’s a great choice. However, another option is a tall, cold beer.
If you are wondering what type of beer that pairs well with steak, we are here to help. One thing you will find is that not all beer is best paired with every type of steak. Keep on reading to find out which pairings we think are the best.
Why Do Beer and Steak Pair So Well?
One reason beer does go so well with Steak is because, when make the right pairing, the flavors complement each other. Plus, there is a beer for every steak, and a beer for every season.
They bring out each other’s flavors without overpowering each other. This means you experience even more flavors. The bitterness of a beer actually helps cancel out the fattiness of a steak.
Also, beer can actually cleanse your palate. This means you get to experience the full flavor of your steak every time you take a bite after taking a sip.
One of the more obvious reasons is because your steak is hot, and your beer is cold. Hot food is always better with a cold beverage.
Though you may not think of beer when it comes to pairing your steak with the perfect drink, it actually makes sense. Many people actually use beer to marinade steaks and make sauces they use to cook with.
Types of Beer for Steak
Before you can begin choosing which type of beer is best with a steak, you need to have a little bit of information on what each type of beer is.
Every type of beer is has its own perks and drawbacks when it comes to pairing with certain foods. Remember that everybody has different taste profiles which is also true for every beer. What one person may like, the next person may not.
Choosing your perfect pairing of beer to your steak is highly varied. What beer goes with what steak will also depend on how you like your steaks. Which seasonings you, rubs, sauces, and how you like it cooked. Whether its rare or extremely well done, these are all things that will affect the pairing.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. Each group of beers has its own number of subclasses that will have to be covered at a later time.
Lagers are what you could call the gateway beer. They are made with bottom fermenting yeast. They often taste lighter and malty. The yeast that is used in lagers has a lower tolerance to alcohol.
The most popular and affordable lagers in America are Miller High Life, Budweiser, and Coors.
Even a founder of Boston Beer Co. that makes Sam Adams believes lagers to be best for those new to drinking beer.
Pale Ale and India Pale Ale
Pale ales are mostly made with hops similar to IPAs but come with a lower alcohol content. They are medium bodied and easy to drink.
Popular ones include American Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, and English Pale Ale.
On a wider note you have the IPAs, which contain mostly hops, herbs, citrus, and even fruity flavors. They are often bitter and come with higher alcohol levels.
IPAs even can come in different styles such as West Coast, British, and New England styles. Each style has its own level of bitterness and other flavors.
That Boston Beer co-founder mentioned earlier suggest that these are the first step into are of craft beer.
These beers originated in the Czech Republic and are considered lagers. German Pilsners are often gold and crisp, while Czech ones are darker and more bitter.
Pilsner beers include Heineken, Krombacher, Gambrinus, and Samuel Adams Noble Pils.
Stouts and Porters
The flavor of a stout will be determined on where it came from. One thing you know is that stouts are dark beers. They are full bodied roasty and sweet ales.
Ireland and England stouts are known to be sweet with low bitterness levels. The most popular stout actually comes from Ireland, the Guinness brand. U.S. stouts are known to be strong, malty, and bitter or hoppy.
Other stouts include Velvet Merlin, Left Hand Brewing, Pearl Necklace Chesapeake, Xocoveza, and more.
Porters are very similar to stouts but taste less like a coffey, and more like a chocolate. These beers include Founders, Anchor, Samuel Smith Taddy, DuClaw.
Belgium has a deep culture in beer which means Belgian beers can be pale or dark ales and fruity or sour ales. They are generally known to be fruity, spicy, and sweet and come with higher alcohol contents.
These beers get their malt ingredient from wheat, which gives it a light color and average alcohol content. It is also good for adding fruit like lemons or oranges.
Some have a tangy flavor like Belgian beers, while some that are made in the U.S. have a hint of bread to the taste. Wheat beers include Black Shirt, Upland Brewing, Mikerphone, and Starr Hill.
Sour beers are tart and come in a multitude of styles. They combine fruit flavors like cherry, peach, raspberry, and others to make a sweet and sour taste.
Common sour ales are American Wild Ale, Berliner Weisse, and Flanders Red Ale.
Beer and Steak
Now that you kind of know the general differences in types of beer, you are ready to pair it with the right steak.
This is just a simple guide, your options are actually almost endless.
When it comes to pairing a beer with a filet mignon, there are a couple of options you could choose.
Light lagers have a lower alcohol content meaning it won’t overpower the flavor of your steak.
The best beer to pair with this steak is a Pale Ale. This is a hearty steak that is full of flavor. The strong flavors of a Pale Ale go great with this manly cut of steak.
Pale Ales are considered a multi-purpose beer that is robust and subtle at the same time.
The suggested beer to pair here is an Amber Ale. It just so happens that many people actually use this kind of beer to actually cook the prime rib in.
It comes with sweet but rich flavor that can actually act like sauce to enhance the flavor of your steak.
For a more relaxed version of a steak we suggest pairing it with a smoke porter. When cooked on a grill the burger itself comes with a smoky flavor and a good porter will only enhance that flavor.
You can still get all the flavors without the porter overpowering the flavor of your burger.
Ribeye or NY Strip
There are a couple of options for pairing a good beer with a ribeye or NY strip steak.
Your first option is an American cream ale for a light body and a mild flavor. They can come with a bitterness and a hint of fruit flavoring, but they also have subdued malt and hops styles.
Next you could go with an IPA, mostly because they cover such a wide variety of beer. The malts of an IPA also help counteract the fattiness of your steak. Just be sure to choose a hoppy beer that comes with a citrusy profile.
Now, the favorite for pairing with a ribeye is an Imperial Stout. These beers are the strongest around when it comes to alcohol and boy. Imperial stouts are considered bold, as are the ribeye steaks.
With two of the boldest options paired together, you are in for a flavorful treat. The stout comes with an oaky tannin that matches with the very rich and buttery flavor of the ribeye.
When it comes to pairing the perfect beer with your steak, there really is no right or wrong answer. While we can give you suggestions, it all really depends on you. Some of the beers we talked about may not be something you actually like.
There is nothing worse than ruining a good steak with the wrong drink. The good thing is there are countless types of beer, so you have room to explore all your different options.
Just remember to make a mental note of the ones that don’t go great with each other.
All in all, thought it isn’t the most hip thing to do, people have actually been pairing their steaks with their favorite beers for many years. From marinades to sauces to rubs to actually drinking it, steak and beer are actually two things that pair very well with each other.