Gary Sink grew up in Europe, falling in love with the culture and the beer that Germany and England gave him. Now he is the owner of The Beveridge Place Pub, a beer bar that has been called the best beer spot in Seattle, is ranked in the top-100 in the U.S., and was even rated in the top-50 in the world. How did he get here?
Growing up on a military base in Germany, Gary Sink got into beer as a teenager (it was legal…). With an English mother, he spent holidays in the UK, and between the two places he was entrenched in the culture of German and English pubs. “We learned to enjoy quality, locally made beer, responsibly.”
When he came back to the states to attend University of Washington, Gary realized he couldn’t afford the import price of the great beers he was used to in Europe – Samuel Smith’s and Ayinger to name a couple. So, Gary did what any self-respecting college kid in his situation would do: he tried home brewing. “Not all of our stuff was very good, but we drank it anyway,” Gary laughed. “But it taught us a lot about all of the different styles that were out there. Whether they were hop-driven, or malt-driven, or yeast-driven, there was the wide variety that is the world of beer.”
After a few years, he got into a professional career, but after a couple of trips with his wife to Europe, Gary knew it was time to follow the dream. “There are a lot of good beer bars in Seattle,” he said, “but there’s not a good beer bar in West Seattle. There’s Elliot Bay down the street a ways – they’re a great brew pub, and that was our regular haunt – but we wanted to serve a whole variety of beers. Have a local focus, but serve beers from all over the world. I guess you could call it my mid-life crisis.”
“We thought to ourselves, that if we don’t do it, someone else will.” Which is why they purchased the Full Moon Saloon in 2001. After renovations, they opened in October 2003 as The Beveridge Place Pub, and would later move across the street (Beveridge Place…) to their current location. The bar is split into two rooms: the Front Room and the Game Room. The Front Room is filled with rich wood, and complete with couches, board games, and tables. The Game Room has darts, foosball, TV, and shuffleboard. It is meant to be a place to meet up.
Gary and his wife had been going to beer dinners, brewing events, and festivals for years, so they knew people already. “We used to hang out at Pike Brewing when they would do cask nights. Selling pints of cask beer for $1.50 a pint until the cask was gone, and there are people that we met there – other customers – that we’re still friends with. It was a big social event,” Gary said, pointing to a table to our left, “that’s one of them over there.”
These relationships helped the Beveridge become what it is. They didn’t want to create a fake English pub, but an American pub: a place you could meet up and have a beer. And that beer came from their relationships. The Beveridge was where Schooner Exact Brewing Company had their world release party. Airways Brewing Company and Two Beers Brewing Company were always able to get a keg on tap. And the interactions with the customers and brewers is what keeps Gary doing it. “Talking to the brewers about what they are doing, what they have coming up. Kind of being the liaison between the artist slash scientist that the brewer is, and the customers who have it out to try anything new.”
The Beveridge continues to support the local beers, holding Iron Brewer competitions where two local brewers are pitted against each other to create the best beer from strange ingredients – like blackberry and lavender, coconut and lemongrass, or apricot and almond. And if you are an IPA fan, get over to the Beveridge to place your vote for next year’s “house IPA”. The finalists are Two Beers, Fremont Brewing Company, and Georgetown Brewing Company.