Q: What beer pairs well with a steak?
A: Of the many beer or wine pairing charts available online, I like to keep it simple. Keep the intensity of the beer just under the intensity of the food. With steak, the major components of flavor are salt, any marinade, some char, some fat and that nice meaty maillard reaction that browns the meat and recombines proteins with sugars. My mouth is watering just typing that sentence! I don’t want a beer that will overpower all of that goodness. I would recommend a beer around 4-6% without too much going on like a Pale Ale, Irish Red or a Brown Ale. The purpose is to refresh the palate with carbonation, cutting the fat and salt while complimenting the meaty flavors. Going for a big IPA or stout, you will find the beer overwhelms the meat and makes you feel full faster.
If you choose a topping, the stakes’ have been raised and you should pair towards the topping.
A nice Belgian dubbel with a bleu cheese topped steak or smoked porter with sauteed mushrooms is pure food and beer heaven.