The 1st XV of craft beer + 15 events in 15 days

RugBEER HopFest is a special craft beer event celebrating the Nelson region’s place at the heart of New Zealand’s hop growing and boutique sector.

From Sept 17 to October 1st, RugBEER HopFest is showcasing a ‘1st XV of craft beers’, 15 beers chosen from the 250 plus craft beers the Free House has served since opening in April 2009. The beers were voted for by Free House customers over the last few months and feature local breweries such as Lighthouse, Townshends, The Mussel Inn as well as iconic Kiwi breweries including Emerson’s, Tuatara and Three Boys.

Festival events include live music, movies, poetry nights, a beer quiz, beertasting and home brewing competitions and a beer and food matching dinner with Richard Emerson of Emerson’s Brewery.

The HopFest 1st XV:

1. Captain Cooker, Mussel Inn, Onekaka;

2. Old House ESB, Townshends, Upper Moutere;

3. Dead Good IPA, Dead Good Beers, Nelson;

4. Sutton Hoo, Townshends, Upper Moutere;

5. Cathcarts NTA, Townshends, Upper Moutere;

6. Dead Good Pilsner, Dead Good Beers, Nelson;

7. 1812 Pale Ale, Emerson’s, Dunedin;

8. Dark Horse, Mussel Inn, Onekaka;

9. Golden Goose, Mussel Inn, Onekaka;

10. Hopwired, 8Wired, Blenheim;

11.No 9 Stout, Townshends, Upper Moutere;

12 Oyster Stout, Three Boys, ChCh;

13. Bookbinder, Emerson’s, Dunedin;

14. Classic Stout, Lighthouse, Nelson;

15. Hefe, Tuatara, Wellington.

RugBEER HopFest – late changes to programme:

The Eastern (Sep 17) is SOLD OUT.
The Eastern will be supported by Lyttelton musicians’ collective.
The Harbour Union

20 more tickets have been made available online for Sam Hunt (26 Sep) and Julia Deans (Sep 30).

The Pure Drop Irish night (Sep 21) has been changed to a FREE session gig.

Food from The Wrap Shack will be available in the pub garden on several nights of the festival.

Food from the Jamaican Jerk peops will be available for the Smooth Cone Reggae night (Sep 29).

The Ger is almost ready, and the 1st XV of craft beers are waiting in the chiller…

Even if you don’t have tickets for events, the pub is still open throughout the festival for savouring great craft beers!

Tickets for all the 15 events are available from The Free House or online at

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