The Free House began as a sole monk of hop(e) in a dark time populated by heathens
who worshipped demonic corporate breweries in a locust of yuckiness. Yet lone
acolytes, Mic and Eelco, held their faith with vigils of quarterly beer tastings called the Nelson Beer Fêtes. They did this in the selfish hope that some visionary soul would open a pub to irrigate the parched.
Three years passed and the faithful multiplied as word of the Fêtes grew. But
alas. The prophet failed to show – until, in 2009, a sign came in the form of the old
Reformed church (near the corner of Hope and Collingwood, known locally as ‘Four
Spirits Crossing’) coming up for sale. Thus The Free House was immaculately conceived and the unholy drought broken with a mighty flood of divine hoppyness.
Prayers of gratitude have been plentiful.
Since opening, more than 1000 varieties have been sacrificed as offerings served to
the faithful through eleven holy taps. The sermon ever changing as biblically as The
Free House begets new beers, and beer styles – whilst keeping a few favourites so as
to remain humble and devout. Nor is the holiness of wine forsaken at the Free House, for Nelson is a wine region and as such the wine list is predominantly local. Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay,Pinot Gris, Albariño, Riesling, Blanc de Noir, all lovingly made by Nelson growers and winemakers that are very clever, and are nice people too. Amens are given loudly to cider as well,
Peckham’s, New Zealand’s largest traditional cider apple orchard. Real ciders
are made from 100% fresh juice, and made only in autumn with tree ripened fruit. They take their time, slow fermenting and ageing their ciders for at least six months while nymphs dance on tables and satyrs play their happy flutes. We always have two of them on tap.
And the good book of host responsibility said and with merriment we must break
bread too. Thus The Free House pays homage to these holy words of wisdom with
chunky chips and a blackboard menu filled with many delicious miracles.
And while in the spirit of brotherly sessions, The Free House says, “Hey nonny,
nonny! Bring your own food, or order from Nelson’s many local restaurants and share
the bounty with all (provided it isn’t globally homogeneous, branded fast food), and
together we shall have much fun and give thanks to this goodness and deliverance from mass blahness. Amen!”