Bolton Point Old Boys Brewery create delicious ginger beer for innovation challenge, is a hit with residents

BUSY: Residents of Bolton Clarke's Macquarie View residential aged care community have been busy in recent months brewing non-alcoholic ginger beer.
BUSY: Residents of Bolton Clarke's Macquarie View residential aged care community have been busy in recent months brewing non-alcoholic ginger beer.

There is something comforting about relaxing with mates and sharing a brew - especially one you have made yourself.

For residents of Bolton Clarke's Macquarie View residential aged care community, the 'Bolton Old Boys Brewery' provides exactly that opportunity.,

And their first brewing foray, non-alcoholic ginger beer, is proving to be a hit.

"Currently we have a group of about 20 enthusiastic brewers," Bolton Clarke diversional therapist Colleen Bruce 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."

The idea for the Old Boys Brewery fermented when Bolton Clarke announced its inaugural Innovation Tournament for ideas promoting social connection.

The brewing kit.

The brewing kit.

The brewery was dubbed the winner from more than 20 projects entered into the tournament.

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," she said.

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.

Ladies labeling bottles.

Ladies labeling bottles.

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.

Bolton Clarke 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."

Residents enjoying a ginger beer while fishing.

Residents enjoying a ginger beer while fishing.

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

"The residents have had so much fun throughout the whole process," Ms Bruce said.

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

"Tastes bloody beautiful," he said.