Barbecue seems to be an up-and-coming style in Seattle. More and more, signs for barbecue places are popping up, chefs are trying to master the cuisine, and people are taking pride in their sauces, smokes, and regional fare–Carolina-style, Kansas City-style, or Texas-style. And at Jack’s BBQ in Georgetown, founded in 2014 and named Best BBQ by Seattle Weekly in 2016, everything is Texas-style or bust.
But what beers should one drink? We’re glad you asked!
Jack’s bar manager Meagan Wright, one of the most hospitable in the business, offered a few pointers. Jack’s has eight beers on tap, four regulars and four rotators. Drinkers should sample three of their prime options: the Topcutter IPA from Bale Breaker Brewing, a lighter but quite hoppy IPA (one of the region’s best); Iron Horse Brewery’s Irish Death, a robust dark ale with plenty of body and malt; and the Shiner Bock, a dark but lighter-bodied lager from Spoetzl Brewery, founded in 1909 in Shiner, Texas.
Wright says, and I agree, that when chowing down on barbecue, a malty, darker version of your favorite beer works well. These brews, like the Shiner Bock, complement the caramelized richness of a smoked rib or dripping-with-sauce pulled-pork sandwich. If you’re diving into a Texas-style barbecue taco (white bread with barbecue sauce, pickled onions, and jalapeño-cheddar sausage), wash it down with a bold, malty Irish Death—preferable to, say, a pilsner, which won’t add much to the flavor of the rich meal, but instead will water down its heft with its carbonation.
But the palate can become overburdened by dark, big beers, and that’s when one needs to turn to the Topcutter, really the supreme IPA choice for Jack’s menu. The Topcutter won’t weigh you down like Boundary Bay’s heavy PNW IPA might, but it still has that floral, hoppy kick you’re looking forin an IPA. The Topcutter pairs excellently with hush puppies at the start of the meal, or with the pecan pie at the conclusion.
But the pièce de résistance? It’s not a beer at all, but Jack’s smoked Old Fashioned, made with brown sugar, in-house marinated cherries, and in-house smoked oranges. It’s a sophisticated finish to the city’s best barbecue—a gift of a cocktail, really, which Wright says “tastes like Christmas.”