Best Ale for Steak and Ale Pie: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Brew

Are you looking to enjoy a delicious steak and ale pie with a cold glass of ale? Look no further! Choosing the proper ale to complement your steak and ale pie can elevate your dining experience.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best ale options to pair with your steak and ale pie so you can enjoy a perfect meal every time.

Whether you’re a malty or hoppy ales fan, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the best ale for steak and ale pie.

The Top Beers For Steak And Ale Pie

Discover the perfect ale for your steak and ale pie with this list of top beers, including well-known brews like Fuller’s London Pride and Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale as well as crowd favorites such as Guinness Extra Stout, Smithwick’s Irish Ale, and Budweiser.

Fuller’s London Pride

Fuller’s London Pride is a classic beer recommended for steak and ale pie. It is an award-winning, premium ale with a consistent malty base, excellent hop character and mellow fruitiness that works wonderfully in dishes such as steak and ale pie or any kind of meat based pies.

London Pride is especially popular in the UK’s capital city where it can be found served with delicious steak or beef pies at many pubs including the renowned pub ‘London’s Pride’.

The beer brings out strong flavors of roasted malt that pair well with hearty stews like those found in steak and ale pie creating an enjoyable dining experience for all customers.

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale has long been a renowned English ale for steak and ale pie, providing the perfect balance of malt body with nutty flavors.

With its deep amber-brown coloring from dark malts and roasted grains in Yorkshire Squares, it provides an attractive background for any dish.

It is well balanced also, featuring toasty notes from carefully brewed tastes that provide complexity: a mellow sweetness emerging from caramelized yeast that gives way to creamy hop bitterness.

Guinness Extra Stout

Known around the world as a popular black and tan, this iconic Irish beer has been an essential part of British culture for centuries.

As one of the top ten beers recommended by Brew Publik, Guinness Extra Stout is considered to be the ideal companion for a hearty steak and ale pie.

This dark brown English ale is brewed with 100 percent malt made from finest quality roasted barley which gives it its trademark thick creamy head and complex flavor profile.

The roasty, coffee-like notes add depth of flavor that pairs well with the rich beefy taste of premium steak meat used in this dish.

The bitterness can help cut through any fat present in the filling while also adding balance to more savory flavors like Worcestershire sauce or herbs like thyme which are commonly found in Steak and Ale Pie recipes.

Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Smithwick’s Irish Ale is one of the most popular and widely available beers for pairing with Steak and Ale Pie.

Founded in 1710 by John Smithwick in Kilkenny, Ireland, the brewery crafts a smooth-malting beer that has become a favorite among traditionalists and modern-day beer lovers alike.

The fullbodied malty flavor of the ale is completely unique compared to other types of ales on the market but it stands out for its unique blend of flavors, which are perfect for accompanying steak dishes.


Budweiser is the perfect partner for Steak and Ale Pie. The crisp, clean taste of this beer complements all of the hearty flavors featured in the dish.

Budweiser’s malty flavor balances out the succulent steak and gravy while its hint of hop bitterness brings a pleasant complexity to each bite.

It is also an easy-drinking beer with an alcohol content of 5%. This means it won’t overpower your food yet still offers just enough kick to make sure your dinner isn’t dull or too rich for one sip after another.

Understanding Ale For Cooking

Ale is an important component of steak and ale pie, so it’s essential to understand the various types and flavors of ales available in order to choose the best one for bringing out the flavor and texture of your dish.

What Is Ale?

Ale is a type of beer brewed with top-fermenting yeast which produces a unique flavor profile. Ale has been around since the Middle Ages, becoming increasingly popular in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Ales are distinguished from other types of beers such as lagers by their higher alcohol content, fuller body, malty flavors and hop aromas.

Ales also tend to have more complex layers of aromatic spices and fruitiness due to the presence of esters created during fermentation—making it an ideal companion for hearty dishes like steak and ale pies.

There are many different styles of ales that vary widely in ABV levels ranging from moderate strengths (3%–4%) up to strong ales with high alcohol content (10%, 12%).

Different malts may be used when brewing ale including pale malt, chocolate malt, Munich malt or black patent malt depending on the desired flavor profile.

Hops may include varieties like Saaz or Fuggles for bittering; additional ingredients might include wheat for added body or oats for a creamy smooth character.

The History Of Steak And Ale Pie

Throughout the course of its long history, Steak and Ale Pie has had many iterations as it evolved from Ancient Egypt to present day.

As far back as 1700 BC in Egypt, meat was being preserved in pastry shells with honey and spices – a practice that is still found today.

During medieval England, pies were commonly made with game birds and beef.

The traditional British Steak and Ale Pie is a hearty stew filled with tender chunks of steak or braising steak cooked in an ale-based gravy containing vegetables like onions and carrots, traditionally encased within a flaky buttery shortcrust pastry shell or puff pastry top.

Though the ingredients used have changed over time, there are some constants including beef stock or stout.

Types Of Ale

Beer is often divided into two categories—ale and lager. What separates the two are their different yeast and brewing processes.

Ale typically uses top-fermenting yeasts that result in a sweeter, fruitier flavor profile with higher hop oils than its lager counterpart.

Beers coming under this category include pale ale, brown ale, porter, stout, barley wine, etc.

Popular ales used for cooking steak and ale pie include Fuller’s London Pride Ale or Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale as they add a complex depth of flavour to food.

Choosing The Right Ale For Your Steak And Ale Pie

When selecting an ale for your steak and ale pie, consider the flavors that best compliment the steak, its alcohol content, how maltiness can affect flavor balance, and ways to complement other ingredients.

Flavors That Compliment Steak

Having the right beer to complement steak and ale pie is essential. Beer adds flavor, enriches the gravy in which it’s cooked, and gives the dish an added complexity that can elevate your dining experience.

The type of beer should be chosen carefully as different beers have different characteristics that can either enhance or detract from your meal.

There are a variety of flavors that pair well with steak including nutty, hoppy, dark malt flavor profiles.

Nut brown ales such as Fuller’s London Pride or Samuel Smith’s work well with steak because they provide caramel sweetness combined with a subtle bitter hop character – perfect for highlighting subtle flavors in juicy steaks.

Guinness Extra Stout provides coffee-like elements perfectly suited to round out complex flavors found in beef dishes like Steak and Ale Pie while Irish Ales such as Smithwick’s boast dryer finishes add depth and texture to every bite.

Also lighter styles like Budweiser bring crisp refreshment to help cut through creamy gravies used to enrich tenderness in some recipes .

It’s important when making Steak and Ale Pie to choose an ale whose flavor profile goes well together without overpowering each other.

Balancing bitterness against sweetness along with proper seasoning will ensure both ingredients pop on their own adding interesting layers of flavour for those common comfort food vibes found in most pubs around England.

Alcohol Content

Alcohol content plays an important part in determining the overall flavor and texture of a steak and ale pie.

The higher the alcohol content, or ABV (alcohol by volume) of the beer used in a dish like this, the more intense or “boozy” flavors will be present.

For instance, a malty Irish Ale such as Guinness Extra Stout has an ABV around 4-5%, while Budweiser comes it at 5%. However there are lighter beers to consider that still impart enough complexity to complement ingredients.

Fuller’s London Pride is just under 4%, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale is around 3% and Smithwick’s Irish Ale clocks in at 5%.

No matter which type of beer you choose for your steak and ale pie it should always have sufficient body so that its essence harmonizes with other ingredients present after cooking.

Additionally each can fall within a particular alcohol range; low-alcohol ales are generally between 0% – 2% (near beers) up to 6%; regular ales usually settle between 4%-6%, and strong beers tend to start from 7%.

Consider Maltiness

Maltiness is an important factor to consider when choosing the right ale for your steak and ale pie. Maltiness can add sweetness to the beer, balance out its flavor profile, and contribute complexities that make it a great pairing with food.

Full-bodied ales such as Fuller’s London Pride and Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale are robust with malty flavor profiles which make them good choices for beef dishes like steak and ale pie.

Stout beers such as Guinness Extra Stout have high malt content, providing roasty chocolate or coffee notes that pair well with the other flavors of the dish.

To get a little bit of sweet candy character in your meal choose a wee heavy like Scots Tradional Ale.

Balance Bitterness

Finding the right beer to balance bitterness in steak and ale pie can be a tricky task. Overpowering hop levels or too much roasted malt can overwhelm your dish.

You want an ale that complements the flavor of your ingredients without overshadowing them.

When looking for an ale for your steak and ale pie, look for something with fairly low hop levels – between 20-50 international bitter units (IBUs) is best – as well as a lower terminal gravity so it won’t overpower other flavors in the dish.

A good option is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which has 35 IBUs and 1.5–4 % ABV – this allows you to get a nice bit of hoppiness without overwhelming the flavors from other ingredients like carrots, mushrooms, onions, etc., in the filling.

Budweiser is also quite low at 10–14 IBUs while still allowing some hint of malty sweetness balanced against tender beef chunks to make all come together nicely when cooked properly!

Dark ales like Guinness Extra Stout might work better if you’d prefer richer layers of flavor with its creamy mouthfeel and roasty notes counteracting any tartness found within veggies used inside or added on top of the steak and ale pie pastry layer.

Complement Ingredients

When crafting a steak and ale pie, selecting the right ale can be critical to making your dish successful. The beer should be chosen carefully to enhance all of the flavors in the filling, rather than overwhelming them with its own taste.

Consideration should also go into how the alcohol content, maltiness, and bitterness will impact the end result.

For example, an English pale ale or brown ale usually pairs well with beef; however an Irish Stout or Porter may be too heavy for these ingredients and cause it to become overpowering on your plate.

When adding mushrooms such as porcini or portobello to your steak and ale pie recipe consider using a darker beer such as porter which will bring out their distinct earthy flavor better than lighter ales like lagers or wheat beers would.

For onion-based dishes that have been slow cooked choose something full bodied such as IPA’s which are known for having strong hop notes that combine nicely with shredded onions.

Cooking Tips For Using Ale In Steak And Ale Pie

When cooking with ale in steak and ale pie, it’s important to deglaze the pan, use a moderate amount of ale so as not to overpower the dish, reduce and thicken before adding the rest of your ingredients and ensure you properly season the filling.

Properly Deglaze The Pan

When making steak and ale pie, one of the most important steps is deglazing the pan.

To properly deglaze your pan, first remove it from heat and add some liquid such as stock or beer.

Next, use a spoon or spatula to scrape any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan; this will add more flavor to your dish.

Ale is an ideal choice for deglazing because its maltiness enhances both flavors and textures in steak and ale pies by adding depth to their gravy-like sauce.

Use The Right Amount Of Ale

When making steak and ale pie, one of the most important decisions is determining the correct amount of ale to use. One key consideration is that an excessive amount will overpower other flavours in the filling and can leave it too soggy or liquidy.

The ideal way to achieve a perfect balance between flavor and texture is to reduce some of your chosen brewing before adding it so its natural sugars are concentrated in flavour rather than soaking up all your ingredients with excess liquid.

A good guide when first starting out is using 1l per kilo (2lb) of meat for a richer gravy. This can be adjusted if you want more gravy.

However, if care isn’t taken not to add too much liquid, your pie may end up biscuit-soggy instead of full flavoured and tender.

For extra flavor try adding stock cubes or bouillon mixed into warm water until dissolved before combining with other ingredients such as fresh vegetables and herbs like thyme and rosemary.

Allow Time For The Ale To Reduce And Thicken

Reducing and thickening the ale is an essential step in preparing a great steak and ale pie. Allowing time for the ale to thicken results in a rich, velvety beer sauce that binds together all of the fillings’ ingredients.

This sauce provides additional flavor and texture to the overall dish.

To achieve this consistency, it is best to deglaze the pan with an amount of good quality dark ale — such as Guinness Extra Stout or Smithwick’s Irish Ale — before adding it into you steak filling ingredients.

Then bring it just up to boiling temperature, reduce heat until mixture starts bubbling gently, let simmer uncovered for around 5-15 minutes depending on desired thickness, stirring occasionally if necessary.

Finally, remove from heat let cool before pouring over filling.

Choose Quality Meat

When it comes to making an exceptional steak and ale pie, quality meat is key.

Selecting the right type of meat to add to your pie filling is essential in achieving a flavor and texture that both complement and enhance the pie’s other ingredients.

The most suitable cuts of beef for steak and ale pies include sirloin, ribeye, rump or fillet steaks; each boasting their own unique flavor and tenderness.

Sirloin has a great depth of flavour while Ribeye adds juicy succulence with its generous marbling – perfect if you prefer your steak medium rare.

Rump gives a robust bite combined with intense taste due to being leaner towards one side but strangely flabby on the other; Fillet is incredibly tender yet mild-flavoursed – ideal for lovers of well done steaks.

For added culinary finesse opt for grass fed or organic meats from smaller producers as these tend to possess far more wholesome characteristics than factory produced counterparts not too mention ethically sourced.

It is also important that you cook the meat for your steak and ale pie properly before adding it into the mix ingredients such as mushrooms, celery, carrots etc., otherwise there may be uncooked parts left when serving up this classic British dish.

Pre-cook Ingredients For Better Flavor

Pre-cooking ingredients is an important step to consider when preparing a hearty steak and ale pie. For example, sautéing onions and carrots in oil helps to release their natural sweetness, creating a deeper flavor for the savory dish.

Similarly, adding herbs such as rosemary and thyme will enhance the depth of taste throughout your dish, contributing to that comforting flavor usually associated with British steak pies.

Other pre-cooked ingredients you could incorporate include garlic, celery, mushrooms and bay leaves — all adding unique notes which can help elevate the overall taste of your pie.

Properly Season The Filling

Properly seasoning the filling of your steak and ale pie is essential to ensure it has full, deep flavor. A well-seasoned steak and ale pie will have a heightened flavor profile that complements both the meat and ale.

When choosing which seasonings to use in your steak and ale pie, consider what ingredients you are using as some herbs or spices can overpower delicate flavors like garlic or bay leaves.

Choosing a seasoning blend with equal parts salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and rosemary can give an aromatic infusion when added during cooking while sweet aromatics like nutmeg can be combined with savory options such as onion powder for balance.

For extra depth of flavour, adding earthy mushrooms like porcini slices simmered in Worcestershire sauce adds layers of taste once incorporated in the dish.

Consider Using A Homemade Crust

Making your own crust for steak and ale pie is not only more cost effective than buying one from the store, but it also allows you to control texture, flavor, and ingredients.

Making a high-quality homemade puff pastry or shortcrust will result in an unrivaled flaky and buttery delicacy that truly enhances the depth of flavour in this hearty British comfort food.

Working with quality ingredients such as flour, salt, butter (or lard), eggs, cream cheese (for puff pastry) can be time consuming but worth the effort if done properly.

With proper technique and practice outcomes like golden brown perfection regularly come out of ovens!

Start by mixing all dry ingredients together then cut small pieces of chilled fat into mixture until you have desired consistency.

Add enough water just to hold it all together and try throwing cubes onto lightly floured surface. The dough should appear pebbly.

Then roll out on a lightly floured surface before taking back to fridge or freezer 5-10 minutes between rolls while incorporating egg wash at each stage till its ready to go into dish.

Fill & top with any remaining/extra egg wash when forming pie decorations as the finishing touch.

Serving Suggestions For Steak And Ale Pie

One of the best options to accompany your steak and ale pie is a side of mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are an ideal pairing to traditional steak and ale pie. To elevate the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes, begin by selecting high-quality potatoes with a waxy flesh that won’t break down during cooking.

Parboil the potatoes until just tender in salted water, then drain well before mashing. For extra creaminess, replace up to half the milk or broth with heavy cream or creme fraiche for richness.

For best results add melted butter, seasonings like garlic powder or onion powder and herbs such as rosemary for added flavor.

For optimal smoothness, you’ll need a ricer—it easily breaks down potato skin into tiny particles without producing large chunks allowing your mash to be light and fluffy.

Alternatively, kitchen equipment such as hand-held mixers can also do wonders; they produce creamy mashed overnight while conserving small pieces that give body to the texture when served chilled or reheated later on.

As a finishing touch add roasted garlic cloves for some nutty sweetness or chopped chives which provides subtle onion taste – it will indeed tantalize anyone’s palate!

There’s so much opportunity here to customize this comforting side dish depending on what flavors take center stage within your meal – let creativity reign in your own kitchen!

Roasted Vegetables

One of the simplest, yet most flavorful additions to serving suggestions for steak and ale pie is roasted vegetables.

Roasted Vegetables provide a contrast in texture and flavor to the hearty, savory filling of your steak and ale pie and bring out the natural flavor of ingredients like mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes or garlic.

When roasting vegetables for your Steak and Ale Pie choose firm yet juicy root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips. These veggies will cook up nicely when combined with tender meat in a hot oven.

If you would like to add additional crunch try roasting more traditional Root Vegetables like cauliflower florets or broccoli florets before adding them into your steak mixture during assembling time.

Crusty Bread

Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment to steak and ale pie as it provides a contrast between the rich flavors of the dish.

Its crisp, slightly-sweet exterior crust pairs exceptionally well with hearty gravy and tender pieces of steak inside.

Enjoying a piece of crusty bread smothered in savory gravy helps to round out textures and flavors in order to create a truly balanced meal.

When serving steak and ale pie alongside crusty bread, ensure that neither item suffers from going warm!

You will want both pieces – hot gravy over freshly baked golden brown pastry surrounding tender chunks of beef atop thick slices of fresh-baked soft but crunchy slices are heaven on earth!

Be sure also not to overcook either element – when heated thoroughly through both items should be perfectly heated.

Toast lightly so that its still crunchy but be careful not to make it too hard for comfort nor allow the bottom crust of your steak & ale pie reheat runny due its higher moisture content than regular pastries.

FAQs on the Best Ale for Steak and Ale Pie

What types of beer should I look for when pairing with steak and ale pie?

When deciding on the perfect craft beer to pair with steak and ale pie, you should look for a malty beer with fruity notes like an amber or red ale that provides sweetness to contrast the savoury flavour of the dish.
This can also be balanced with roasted caramel notes in dark ales such as Porters and Stouts.

Will all beers work well when pairing with steak and ale pie?

IPAs, sour ales, saisons and any overly hoppy brews are best avoided due to the powerful hop aroma competing strongly against the more subtle flavours of this comfort food dish.
Instead, mellow malt allows delicate nuances from various herbs used within your recipe to deliver the maximum palatable reward, delivering a complex yet supremely complimentary combination for both elements enjoyed side by side or incorporated into one whole experience.

How does alcohol content affect how my chosen beer pairs with steak and ale pies?

Alcohol content can have a significant impact on how a beer pairs with steak and ale pies. Beers with higher alcohol content tend to have a bolder and stronger flavor that can overpower the flavors of the dish, while lower alcohol beers may not provide enough depth to stand up to the rich flavors of the pie. Finding the right balance is key to enhancing the flavors of both the beer and the food.

Final Take on the Best Ale for Steak and Ale Pie

After exploring the top beer picks for steak and ale pie, it’s clear to see that there is no single “right” ale for a perfect pairing. It all comes down to your own personal preferences and what pairs best with the ingredients of your recipe.

When picking out an ale, look at flavor profiles along with alcohol content – consider both malty sweet beers and those on the bitter side – as well as how complementary each element of your dish is when paired together.

Experimenting with different types of ales can result in interesting flavor combinations.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.