Ah, the early January New Year's Resolution dinner party effects. If there is ever a time to stay home and watch Dinner With Friends rather than going to your friend's house for dinner, it is now. But we love our friends, low-carb, gluten-free, fat-free pizzas and all. And so we go to their diet-restrained kitchens this time of year with beer. Lots of beer.

Which beer to bring when dinner is likely going to be somewhat lacking, to put it politely? We asked Patrick Rue of The Bruery to give us his favorite liquid solution, the one caveat being the beer could not be his own. He also offered up some wise general food-pairing advice that might just forever change how you define a “special occasion” that deserves a really good beer or glass of wine.

The problem, says Rue, is that many of us “save” our best beer and wine for a special meal, say a prime steak splurge or something similar. But Rue argues we should do the opposite. “It's unfortunate that people tend to save their best for that perfect meal rather than saving it for an emergency situation,” he says. “In the face of a less than enticing meal, [you need to] go with a beer that will make up for the mediocrity of the food.”

A very good point, indeed. And incidentally, there are some interesting recipes (that actually look good) from various bloggers using The Bruery's beer, like an Autumn Maple pulled pork and pumpkin beer bread, archived on the brewery's own blog.

Rue's personal favorite for dire culinary situations? A Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point, the same mega-hops beer that ranked number one on our recent Top 5 IPAs list. “Any bad meal can easily be resurrected with Sculpin IPA,” he says. “With all the citrus, pine and tropical fruits, and the palate cleansing bitterness, you won't even know what you're eating.”

And, he adds, “eventually too inebriated to care.”

More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com.

LA Weekly