Alaskan Brewing Heritage Coffee Brown Ale Paired with Coffee-Rub Steak

Beer? Coffee? Steak? Yes please.

A few weeks ago, I received a treat in the mail.

It was the new "Pilot Series" release from Alaskan Brewery: a Heritage Coffee Brown Ale. Plus I got a packet of coffee beans from Heritage Coffee Roasting Co. (also from Juneau, Alaska) which were the same blend used to make the beer.

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I have enjoyed some coffee stouts and porters in the past. But a coffee brown ale? I had never seen one before. I was immediately intrigued by this new style.

Andrew and I opened up the bottle to taste it. Since I'm not a coffee drinker, I didn't really know what to expect. Sometimes coffee stouts and porters accentuate coffee flavors so much that it turns out too roasted, too intense, and sometimes even on the edge of burnt and bitter.These attributes are usually too much for me. The Alaskan Coffee Brown Ale had none of these overpowering attributes. Because its a brown ale, everything is scaled back and the true essence of the coffee beans take center stage.  I was pleasantly surprised and never thought I would enjoy something so coffee-flavored before!

After doing a bit of research, I learned that Alaskan Brewing made the beer by roasting some of the malt for it in the coffee roaster used at Heritage Coffee company. Since malt roasts at a much lower temperature than coffee beans, they had to be very careful not to start a fire. Doing this clearly was well worth it!

The Pairing

I made Andrew go to the store and buy two more bottles of the Alaskan Coffee Brown Ale so we could play around with them. I wanted to pair our next bottle with a nice batch of brownies, but he had the idea of using the coffee beans to make a coffee-rub steak. Winner!

I often warn people about pairing flavors in drinks with the same exact flavors in food. For example, I once made some spicy tacos and paired them with a chile-flavored beer. On its own, the beer was amazing. But with the food, it didn't taste like anything. Quite often if you pair food and drinks together with too-similar flavors, they'll end up cancelling each other out.

I was afraid that would happen to this meal, but that was not the case! In fact, giving the steak a little coffee flavor with the rub accentuated the Alaskan Coffee Brown Ale just perfectly. Nothing about either was too overwhelming for its partner.

If you live in a state that carries Alaskan Brewery beers, I strongly suggest treating yourself to this Coffee Brown Ale! Like I said, I don't even drink coffee, yet I loved this beer. It goes great with steak but will also pair nicely with anything that you'd eat with coffee. Beer for breakfast, anyone?

Side note, this beer is a limited release so if you're not reading this in the fall/wintertime, it might not be available for purchase. But you can sub a different coffee-flavored beer in if you'd like.

Coffee Rubbed Steak with Alaskan Brewing Coffee Brown Ale | CaretoPair.com
Coffee Rubbed Steak with Alaskan Brewing Coffee Brown Ale | CaretoPair.com

The Recipe

Andrew created this simple rub by grinding the coffee beans down to espresso and adding other ingredients to complement the steak. We didn't want to make things too spicy, which might contrast with the beer, so we kept the cayenne pepper low. If you prefer a bit more spice, feel free to add more cayenne to the rub. To cook your steaks, we suggest following our recipe for the reverse-sear method. Its the only way we make steak anymore because they turn out perfectly every time!

Rub recipe adapted from food.com.

Coffee-Rub for Steaks

Serves: 4 Steaks

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp finely ground espresso
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Coat your steaks on all sides with the mixture and rub in well.
  2. Follow our instructions for reverse-seared steak (link above) or cook normally to your own preferred method.

Happy Pairing!