Homebrew brings blokes together

Bottles of home brew made by Uniting Caroona Yamba residents

Homebrew brings blokes together

The founding members of a new blokes’ beer brewing club are not letting getting older get in the way of them crafting their first batch of pale ale.

Residents of Uniting Caroona Yamba, on the New South Wales north coast, approached the centre managers with the bold idea of brewing their own beer.

Ray Braid said the inspiration came from men who had enjoyed their own homebrews before moving into care. “I thought, ‘well that won’t happen here’, but it did,” Mr Braid said.

Manager Debra Smith said there were no rules preventing residents from drinking, or making, their own alcohol on-site. “It’s almost like there are unwritten rules in some places that will have soft drinks but not booze,” Ms Smith said. “But we’re quite happy to cater for residents with their own interests.

“They have a right to choose what they would like to do and we’re keen to go with that and not put barriers around them.”

The men recently cracked the tops off their first batch of pale ale and brewer Jim Hughes, also a former publican, said it was as good as any beer he had ever tasted. “I’ve had a fair bit to do with beer, in so far as I’ve enjoyed drinking it for 60 years,” he said.

“I have also owned three hotels over my life, so I knew a lot about the breweries and how to proceed to gauge the public on what they did and didn’t enjoy. Ours is as good as any of the major breweries.”

Mr Hughes said the perfect home brew took precision in preparation. “I’d say you need the right recipe and the right ingredients,” he said. “And you need to be very careful that everything is pure and clean and that you wait for the maturity before you taste it.”

Ms Smith said the brewers’ club also had benefits beyond the booze. “It’s been amazing for one particular gentleman who was sitting very quietly and had almost no interaction,” she said. “In fact, we were very worried about whether he was depressed or slipping into a higher stage of dementia, but quite frankly this interest has been amazing.

“He’s actually watching for the bubbles to come and to see if it’s fermenting properly. He’s washing the bottles and showing an interest, when he hasn’t had an interest in anything at all for years.

“For the rest of the men, they’re getting together as men and having a talk about beer and the pubs, and the old booze they used to make at home. It’s a very male activity that we need to foster.”

Get in touch

To find out more about Uniting or to discover the service option that’s right for you, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org. We’d love to hear from you.

This article originally appeared on the ABC News website.

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