Using beer as a flavor base for a steak marinade has probably been happening since beer was first created. The ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians were highly advanced civilizations, with archeological evidence suggesting their cuisine was rich and flavorful. Tough steaks, especially steaks that haven't been tenderized, can be extremely difficult to chew, and in some cases this can really ruin the whole appeal to eating a steak. That's were steak marinades come into play. Beer along with other alcoholic beverages, will tenderize meat by breaking down it's proteins. The longer you let your steaks marinate in beer, the more meat proteins it will dissolve, and in turn the more tender your steaks will become. If you combine beer with and citrus juices or vinegar, the tenderizing process will advance even faster than with just beer alone.
To date I have yet to come across a beer that I wouldn't marinate a steak with. I've used homemade beer, fruit flavored beer, chocolate beer, milk beer, stout, Hefeweizen, lager, ale, and even non alcoholic beer. I have found that marinade flavors from light beers and ales will burn off quickly once your steaks hit the grill, and all that will be left is a faint beer aftertaste. Stouts and dark beers are different, they will leave a much richer fuller beer taste on your steaks, leaving flavor notes resembling oats, burnt wheat, almonds, hops, barley, and grains. You can even combine beers into your marinade if you like the flavors of more than one, for example I have used one cup of raspberry ale, and one cup of Guinness stout. Most of the alcohol content within the beer will burn off once you cook your steaks, meaning eating a few steaks will not get you drunk by any means.
My all time favorite beer to marinate with is probably Ireland's own world renown Guinness stout, and preferably draught from a can as it's much tastier and full bodied than Guinness from a bottle. Guinness is great as a marinade flavor base, because it will generally sit along side other ingredients perfectly without over powering them. You can combine Guinness with fruit juice, seasonings, herbs, sauces, and really go all out to create an extravagant marinade, or you can even use Guinness with a little lemon juice by itself. Other dark beers and stouts work great too, so do be sure to try out your favorite stout beer brands as a marinade. I have even on a rare occasion used extremely expensive imported stouts in a marinade, though obviously I use the beer sparingly, and expand on it with lots of other ingredients.
A lot of people might be instantly turned off by fruit flavored beers being used in a steak marinade, as they usually don't want fruity notes in their beer. But once you try a raspberry stout or ale, you'll find the flavors actually do taste amazing with meat, contrary to what one might expect. Apple beer, blackberry beer, cherry beer, blueberry beer, cranberry beer, these and others will all taste great with steak, just give it a try to prove it to yourself. I even recall once upon a time creating a steak marinade with apple beer, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, soy sauce, and variety of other herbs and spices, and it was one of the best marinades I have had to date. So don't be afraid to get those fruity beers involved with your marinades, you definitely won't regret it. If you would like some beer brand recommendations, don't hesitate to email us for a quick and tasty list.