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Brewing up friendships at Macquarie View

When times are tough, there is something comforting about relaxing with mates and sharing a brew – especially one you’ve made yourself.

For residents at Bolton Clarke’s Macquarie View residential aged care community at lakeside Bolton Point, the ‘Bolton Old Boys Brewery’ provides exactly that opportunity - and their first brewing foray, non-alcoholic ginger beer, is proving to be a hit.

The idea for the ‘Old Boys Brewery’ fermented when Bolton Clarke announced its inaugural Innovation Tournament for ideas promoting social connection. The brewery was this week dubbed a winner from a mix of over 20 projects in the running.

The brewing process has brought back treasured memories for many residents, including Shirley Hancock.

“When I was young, my mum used to make ginger beer and ice cream together. I couldn’t get home from school quick enough to get some!” said Shirley.

Bolton Clarke Diversional Therapist Colleen Bruce said the residents hopped at the chance to show off their home brewing expertise.

“Currently we have a group of about 20 enthusiastic brewers,” she said. “Six of them have done home brewing before so it’s a real treat to be able to revisit a much-loved pastime and show off old skills.”

“We are taking it in turns to make batches in small groups. It’s been great to be collaborative while social distancing. It has given everyone a sense of accomplishment and purpose – even our local brewing shop is invested in our idea!”

Resident Brian Riddiford was among the group who made the first batch.

“I hope we have a bit of fun and I hope it tastes alright,” he said.

While the keen brewers have been mostly men, the ladies have been part of the process too, making labels for the bottled ginger beer.

Anne Morphett summed up the feeling in the labelling room when asked what part of the process she was most excited about.

“Well – opening a bottle and drinking it!” she said.

Macquarie View Residential Manager Jo Teernan said she thought it was an amazing idea.

“When Colleen and the residents came up with the concept for the Innovation Tournament, we just gave her licence to own it and make it happen for the residents. Everyone is getting involved,” she said.

“I think our community lends itself to doing things outside by our beautiful lake – celebrating our successes together.”

And celebrate they did. Residents and employees gathered together to watch the announcement of the Tournament winners.

“When we found out we had won, everyone started singing ‘hip hip hooray!” said Colleen.

“The residents have had so much fun throughout the whole process.”

Macquarie View resident Tom Stephenson was among the first to try the newly brewed ginger beer.

“Tastes bloody beautiful!” he said.