Expert Advice For Pairing Beer With Steak

When it comes to pairing your steak with a drink, you'll be forgiven for jumping straight to the wine list. While the right red or even white, according to one expert wine can elevate a steak, Jessie Massie posits that the right beer can take you there as well.

Massie, executive chef at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom in Mills River, North Carolina, spoke all things steak-and-beer with Mashed. Based on her advice, finding the right beer is just as precarious as getting the perfect wine pairing. If you were hoping to crack open a can of your state's favorite beer and still enjoy a gourmet experience, you might be a bit disappointed.

In general, according to Massie, you'll need "dark, roasted malt beers to stand up to the flavors of rich meaty dishes." To follow that recommendation, you'll probably want to put the Bud Light back in the fridge for this one and get yourself a stout or a dark ale. You want your beer pairing to go glove-to-glove with the steak, not be instantly overpowered by it. As Massie explains, "A rich beer layered with multiple flavors and that has a touch of refinement can level up a steak experience."

Use different beers for different cuts for a true match

When speaking to Mashed, Jessie Massie had a lot to say about the importance of matching your cut to your beer of choice. Dark beers may be better in a broad sense but when it comes to a grilled ribeye with heaps of charred veggies, for example, Massie actually recommends "a quaffable yet flavorful beer like a Hazy IPA or an approachable Pale Ale." This is in the interest of matching the beer to the full "sensory experience", not just the meat. Fatty cuts in particular work with lighter, more crisp beers, as they "help cut through fattiness to refresh the palate", according to Massie.

Dark beers reign supreme when it comes to more tender cuts, however. Massie recommends dark beers with lean cuts like New York strip or skirt steak as she described a delectable combination of "a tender filet cut seared to perfection," which would then be "complimented well by a mature barrel-aged beer, like a barrel-aged stout." Regardless of which cut of steak you choose, you'll have myriad options for which beer to enjoy.

To cut through the chaff when selecting your beer, Massie says it's important to "pay attention to the malt character" as a sign of a high-quality brew. Honestly, it's a bit difficult to even consider the bouquet-smelling, slow-sipping experience of pairing steak with wine when Massie describes the steak-and-beer combo like that.