The 10 Best Beers For Marinade

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People who love a cold beer on a hot afternoon are also inclined to prefer meat that has been marinated in beer. The greatest beer marinade is largely a matter of preference. While some people enjoy their steaks, poultry, or other meat with a little fire, others prefer it with a little caramelized sweetness.

Those who enjoy beer seriously probably have one or two favorites, most often from a microbrewery. In addition to tenderizing the meat by dissolving collagen, soaking a rib eye, chicken breast, or pork chop in a richly flavored black beer or a light, brilliant pale ale allows the flavor of the meat to come through. 

  1. Stout
  2. Brown Ale
  3. Belgian Dubbel
  4. Scottish Ale
  5. Irish Red Ale
  6. Scottish Ale
  7. Irish Red Ale
  8. Belgian Tripel 
  9. American Brown Ale
  10. English Bitter

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Why Do You Marinade Steak In Beer?

Steaks are typically marinated to flavor the surface of the meat. Because of the very nature of beer, including it in the list of components for a steak marinade raises the bar. Here’s how.

A standard marinade uses three parts fat to one part acid in addition to other seasonings that are added to taste. Beer has a great flavor and a fairly low acidity. Beer marinades typically have a thinner consistency and more water since they may be added in a greater quantity compared to the marinade’s oil.

Beer causes the marinade to enter the meat a little bit farther, acting something like a brine in that it both:

  • Raises the meat’s water content, which causes it to stay juicier during cooking (especially useful for Grilled Steak  with less marbling)
  • Tastes that go a little deeper in the steak than the surface-level ones.

Note: Beer marinade does not, however, tenderize the meat. Not until a component is added that has enzymes that break down proteins (ex. bromelain in fresh pineapple).

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Ingredients For This Beer-And-Steak Marinade


This marinated steak can be used on any beef steak cut, but it works particularly well on skirts, flat iron (as seen in the image above), hangers, and flanks.


Use one with flavor, like olive oil.


Use a beer style like Munich Helles, German pilsner, Czech Pils, American craft lager,  or Vienna lager for this particular recipe. They strike a balance between herbal/grassy hop flavors and a malty backbone.


Increases the marinade’s umami depth and increases its acidity to match the beer’s.


An optional dab of mild vinegar, like sherry or rice that has been spiced.


Employ kosher salt. It will let the beer soak into the meat more deeply and balance the flavors of the marinade.

Dijon mustard

Brings its robust taste and aids in emulsifying the mixture of the aforementioned elements.


For its subtle onion flavor, use it. Cut it thin. Use a red or sweet onion as a replacement.


Freshly minced or finely chopped cloves.


The excellent savory flavor blends well with the other ingredients and isn’t overpowering.


Use smoked paprika unless you want to add a smokey flavor, in which case use sweet paprika like Hungarian.

Flakes Of Red Pepper

For a light touch of heat, optional.

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The Best Beer For Marinade

  1. Stout

Stouts have a deep, rich flavor that can add depth of flavor to a marinade. Guinness is a great option.

  1. Brown Ale

Brown ales have a nutty flavor that pairs well with many different types of meat. Newcastle is a good option.

  1. Porter

Porters are similar to stouts in that they have a deep, rich flavor. But they also tend to be a bit sweeter, which can be nice in a marinade. Sierra Nevada Porter is a great option.

  1. Belgian Dubbel

Belgian Dubbels have a sweet, malty flavor that can complement a savory marinade. Chimay Red is a great option.

  1. Scottish Ale

Scottish ales have a deep, malty flavor with just a touch of sweetness. They can round out the flavors in a marinade. Highland Park Dragonfly is a great option.

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  1. Irish Red Ale

Irish red ales have a slightly sweet, malty flavor that can add some nice depth of flavor to a marinade. Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is a great option.

  1. Belgian Tripel

Belgian tripels are very light in color but have a lot of flavors. They can add a nice sweetness to a marinade without being too overwhelming. Chimay White is a great option.

  1. American Brown Ale

American brown ales tend to be on the sweeter side, with a nutty flavor. They can be a nice addition to a savory marinade. Deschutes Nut Brown Ale is a great option.

  1. English Bitter

English bitters are light in color but have a good deal of flavor. They can add a nice bitterness to a marinade without being too overwhelming. Fuller’s London Pride is a great option.

  1. Dry Stout

Dry stouts are similar to regular stouts, but with less sweetness. They can add a depth of flavor to a marinade without being too sweet. Guinness Draught is a great option.

Beer To Avoid During Marinade

  • IPA’s – The hops in India Pale Ales can make your meat taste bitter.
  • Pilsners – Pilsners are generally too light in flavor to add much to a marinade.
  • Amber Ales – Amber ales can add an unwanted sweetness to your dish.
  • Wheat Beers – Wheat beers can make your meat mushy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Beer Aid In The Tenderization Of Meat When Marinating It?

With little cooking time required, beers can give the meat a rich, caramel-like flavor. Utilizing beer is one of the best ways to tenderize meat. Beer includes tannins and alpha acids that aid in the breakdown of meat fibers, enhancing the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Before grilling, marinate with beer for at least an hour.

How Long Can Beer Be Used As A Marinade?

Beer marinade can be used for both meat and vegetables.

For two to twelve hours, marinate. Grill as desired after removing from the marinade.