The Best Kind Of Steak To Drink Beer With

If you're a beer connoisseur or just someone who loves a brew or two on the weekend, figuring out what cut of steak to pair with your favorite style of beer isn't as clear cut as it might seem. You need to consider the flavor profiles of your India pale ale, stout, sour, or saison and your beef to get the best out of both of them. The wrong cut could give you a subpar drinking and eating experience.


A big consideration is the fat content of the steak, since a fattier cut is better able to curb a bitter IPA or strong sour, making for a more harmonious dining experience. Likewise, a less fatty cut won't overwhelm a lighter bodied beer like a pilsner. Of the 12 most common cuts of steak, ribeye is considered the most marbled, meaning it's the fattiest and is packed with beefy flavor. The filet mignon falls on the least fatty end of the steak spectrum. A New York strip is somewhere between these other two, but is still lean enough for a lighter bodied beer.

Why steak and beer work well together

Beer and spicy food naturally pair well since alcohol can help diffuse capsaicin, the heat-producing compound found in chili peppers — but why do beer and steak work so well together? The answer involves the beer's carbonation, and its ability to cleanse your palate between bites of steak. The heat of the steak also heightens the coldness of the beer to create a refreshing sensation.


Cuts of beef with a hefty fat-to-protein ratio like ribeye, sirloin, and prime rib pair well with bold beers such as rich stouts, double and single IPAs, sours, and porters. Besides the meat tempering the bitter and sour notes of the beer, these brews cut through the richness of the beef. Win, win. Relatedly, if the steak is highly seasoned in something like a Cajun spice rub, it will pair well with a bolder beer style like an IPA. If you're more into lighter bodied beers, you're going to want to opt for a less fatty cut of beef.

Choose a leaner cut for a lighter bodied beer

Like pork chops, which are a leaner meat and pair better with less hoppy beers, a less fatty cut of beef such as a filet mignon, flat iron, or New York strip isn't going to overwhelm the more subtle flavors of a beer such as a kölsch, pilsner, blond ale, or hefeweizen. A leaner cut of steak, like a filet mignon, would also pair well a saison. This beer, which originated in Belgium, is low in alcohol, super effervescent, and has a complex flavor profile that can range from spicy to fruity. 


Besides the cut of beef, and whether it's been highly seasoned through a rub or marinade, how it's cooked can also play a part in whether a steak will work best with your favorite beer. While the saison and a less fatty cut of steak go well together, this beer is able to stand up to any steak cooked on a grill. The steak's chargrilled smokiness won't overpower a saison's flavors. In the end, it's up to you what cut of steak to pair with your favorite brew. Have fun exploring this sublime food and beverage combination.