Maybe it's the rising popularity of craft beer, the fact that my partner is an aspiring hops farmer and brewer, or the simple truth that I am a broke millennial, but when it comes time to chose, I always pick beer over wine.
I even (gasp!) think you should leave the wine corked and drink beer instead with your steak dinners. Although it’s more traditional to serve intense Cabernets with rib-eyes and bold Burgundies with filet mignon, I would rather wash my grilled steak down with an icy-cold brew.
Here are the biggest reasons you should give this unconventional pairing a try.
1. There’s a beer for every steak.
From sweet stouts to mild ales to sour lambics, there’s a nearly infinite number of brews. There are so many varieties that, no matter what kind of steak you’re cooking, you can find a beer to go with it. Try roasted stout with your grilled steak, pair porter with your porterhouse, or go for red ale if you’re making a pan-cooked steak.
2. And a beer for every season.
Brewers have gotten pretty creative with their recipes, especially when it comes to seasonal beers. Summer selections are infused with citrus, and winter warmers are laden with spices. And while there are plenty of combinations that should have never have been made (I’m looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout), the seasonal selection can transform your steak dinner into a weather-appropriate repast.
3. Beer’s bitterness balances steak’s fat.
Sirloins, flat-irons, rib-eyes, and other heavily marbled steaks are known for their fatty, beefy flavors, but if you’ve ever bitten into a thick cut yourself, you know that all of that richness can be overwhelming. That’s where beer comes in.
Hoppy beers with higher IBUs (short for International Bitterness Unit, which is just a clever way to measure how bitter a beer is) like IPAs, light ales, and sessions, are perfect for cutting through the fattiness of steaks. When your tastebuds are overloaded with the meatiness of your meal, the beer acts like a mouth referee, bringing out steak’s flavor and minimizing its fattiness.
4. It’s cold; your steak is hot.
Nothing satisfies the taste buds quite like a juicy steak right off the grill (or the pan) — that is, until you chase that hot piece of meat with a cold sip of beer. It’s a refreshing combo that even a chilled red wine just can’t recreate.
5. The carbonation clears your palate before each bite.
Want to taste everything on your plate? Every last bite of steak? Sipping beer between bites effectively clears your palate. The carbonation of beer and its natural effervescence scrubs your taste buds of any lingering flavors (it’s like Scrubbing Bubbles for your tongue), meaning every time you take a bite, it’ll feel like the first time.