The Free House’s bar manager Rhys Clark with his pint of ‘Rhys’. Photo: Harri Jordan.

Rhys literally pouring his own pints


Rhys Clark is used to pouring pints but not having his name on the front of one.

As the bar manager of The Free House he unexpectedly found himself as the inspiration behind a Wellington craft-brewer’s latest hazy IPA.

“I thought they were joking at first,” Rhys says.

The three owners of Parrot Dog in Wellington are originally from Nelson and frequent The Free House every summer.

They invited Rhys up to their brewery in Lyall Bay for some experimental brewing before their Christmas party.

Rhys decided to bring up his own creation that he had been making at home.

Using repurposed kitchen equipment, he makes up to 40 litres of new flavours each time.

Infused with chunks of dried coconut, the ‘Rhys Coconut Hazy IPA’ combines a sharp citrus flavour with smooth coconut.

It goes without saying that the beer was a hit at the Christmas party, and it wasn’t long before Parrot Dog were back in contact saying they wanted to make 5000 litres of it and name it after him.

“It didn’t actually feel real until I was actually holding the can in my hand,” Rhys says.

The launch party of the ‘Rhys’ at The Free House on Thursday saw 100 litres of the beer run out in just two days.

“It’s pretty weird hearing people coming up to the bar and saying your name hundreds of times,” says Rhys.

The beer has been a huge hit nationwide with online reviewers.

“Shared this round a table last night and the overwhelming response was give me more,” one said.

“Brilliant idea flawlessly executed.”

On March 14, Nelson’s craft beer festival ‘Marchfest’ will be taking place at Founders Heritage Park and Rhys says the beer will be featuring “if there’s any left”.