Cape Ann Brewing Company, Gloucester MA

The beer wasn’t bad at all, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Most microbrewery restaurants serve decent pub food — deep fried snacks, maybe some nachos; you know, good unhealthy old standbys.  But the Pub at Cape Ann is something special:  They have barbecue.  Boy-oh-mister, do they have barbecue!

When you walk in past the old bouy alongside St. Peter’s Square in Gloucester (pronounced “Glosta”), you can see the fishing boats at the docks.  And when you sit out on the deck, chances are you’ll be near a big pile of lobster pots (no, they don’t call ’em Globsta pots, but it would be funny if they did).  The decor is simple: Oktoberfest in knotty pine.  The menu is single-page and unassuming.

But oh my word, that pulled pork!  I thought for a minute I was back in South Carolina.  ‘Good’ doesn’t cover it; there’s a thick smoked crust with long-roasted peppercorns mixed in, and the meat just falls apart.  Sauce would have been shameful on meat like this.

Though they do have sauces, and fine ones — ketchup-based, I’d say, but no worse for that; every sauce I tasted was different, unique, and matched the meat delightfully.  The maple glazing on the chicken (it’s possible someone snuck me a piece to try) is something I’ve never tried before but will be back to dwell on at leisure.

There’s so much worth talking about, including the brisket (Texas-style, not fatty and not dry), the ribs (baby back — sweet, smoked, and chewy), and the seafood — did I mention the fresh seafood?  Worth the trip for that alone, fresh off the dock and some tasty.  There’s no way I could do justice to the menu, so I won’t try — but I’ll just mention that they serve five different varieties of mac ‘n cheese.  I tested the one with pulled pork. Oh, sweet Christmas!  Someday soon I hope to spend a week in town just to try a different mac ‘n cheese each day.

Bottom line:  I was shocked, amazed, and then delighted to find great barbecue hiding right on the docks.  It’s worth a special trip just for this.

The Brew Pub at Cape Ann Brewing is open 7 days, noon to nine weekdays and eleven to ten Friday and Saturday.  You can find them on Rogers Street in downtown Gloucester, right next to a big pile of lobster pots.

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