Free House rated NZ's top pub

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:00 26/02/2013
Free House
COLIN SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
CHEERS: The Free House owners Eelco Boswijk left and Mic Dover.

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Nelson pub The Free House has been named the best overall beer venue in New Zealand, as voted by beer drinkers and magazine readers.

Its former "beertender" Scott Bradley has been recognised too, for the passion and energy he puts into his job.

The people's choice awards are organised each year by Australian-owned Beer & Brewer Magazine, and there is a category for New Zealand winners.

The Free House owned by Eelco Boswijk and Mic Dover was named best large bar for more than 150 patrons, and its Dead Good Beer Events festival, MarchFest, came second to Wellington's Beervana in the beer event category,

Boswijk said it was a "really great boost" to know they were doing the right thing, with MarchFest coming up on April 6.

Mr Bradley, who worked at the Collingwood St venue before opening Rhythm and Brown in New St at the end of last year, was named "best beertender".

Boswijk said: "He's incredibly personable, and he puts a lot of energy into it. It's what he wants to do, and what he loves doing. This is his life, and his career."

McCashin's Brewery in Stoke was first-equal in the best beer award category, with its Stoke Bomber Bohemian Ale, and was also named best microbrewery and cellar door. McCashin's head brewer, Sam Wilson, was named brewer of the year, and its Rochdale Cider was first equal with a Redwood Cider Company cider.

The Moutere Inn was named best small bar for fewer than 150 patrons.

Beer & Brewer Magazine also organises industry awards, and the Sprig & Fern's Milton St pub was named runner-up best brew bar in those. The same pub won best bar in the country in the Hospitality New Zealand awards last year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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