Big Flavor, Small Budget: Pale Ale with Chipotle Flat Iron Steak

By Gunther Emathinger, Executive Chef and Corey Rapp, R&D, Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Nowadays, everyone is trying to cut back. But it’s important to remember one of life’s simple pleasures—beer and food. Quality craft beer is more readily available than ever before, allowing people to experience a wide variety of flavors and styles from the comfort of their home or neighborhood pub. And, lucky for us, a fantastic bottle of beer is a fraction of the price of a similarly renowned wine; allowing us to indulge a little more often without the guilt.

One of our favorite beer styles is the versatile American Pale Ale, loaded with refreshing citrus flavors. American Pale Ales are the hoppier evolution of their English counterparts. The style showcases American hops, known for intense grapefruit, pine, and citrus flavors. Pale Ales are brewed with a substantial amount of pale and caramel malts, creating a firm malt profile to balance the bitterness from the hops. Within the style, Pale Ales can also range from incredibly dry and citrussy to more balanced with the malt profile playing a more prominent role. Either way, the final result is a refreshingly hoppy ale with moderate alcohol and a lingering citrus bitterness that pairs incredibly well with food.

Because American Pale Ales pair so well with a wide array of foods, it’s a great style to keep on hand. The citrus notes in the beer make it a natural choice for Latin cuisine; the hops temper the spiciness while accentuating the lime and citrus flavors and cutting through creamy cheese toppings. American Pale Ales are also a great choice to pair with grilled meats and juicy burgers. The beer is refreshing enough to cut through the heaviest of dishes while the firm malt backbone helps to accentuate the caramelization of grilled foods. Some of our favorite examples of the style are Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Firestone Pale Ale, Deshcutes Mirror Pond, and our own Pintail Pale Ale.

With the idea that beer is an everyday luxury meant to be shared with friends, we are offering up this affordable and flavorful pairing: Pintail Pale Ale with Chipotle Flat Iron Steak. We take a relatively inexpensive cut of meat and tenderize it with a marinade of orange juice, chipotle in adobo, onion, cilantro, and a bottle of our Pintail Pale Ale. After marinating overnight, the steak is then grilled and served alongside a corn relish. The finished steak is tender and flavorful, with just enough smoky heat from the chipotle peppers. A pint of Pintail Pale Ale alongside this dish cuts the spiciness and highlights the citrus from the lime and orange juice for a delicious and budget-friendly pairing. Share it. Cheers.


GuntherCoreyGunther Emathinger (left), Executive Chef at Karl Strauss Brewing Company and Corey Rapp, R&D at Karl Strauss Brewing Company