With the release of our new lager, Forward, we thought we’d give you a bit of insight into what went into producing this brand new beer. Our Head Brewer, Sam and Head of Design, Piarais, talk a bit about the thought process behind the recipe and the artwork.
Sam Fraise, Head Brewer
We’ve had a real passion for brewing high quality lagers for some time and have brewed several different varieties over the years. Lagers are complex beers to master, with a stripped back, nuanced flavour profile that represent a perfect balance of malt, hops and yeast. There’s an old brewers adage that says “there’s nowhere to hide in a lager” as the subtle flavours aren’t able to cover up any unwanted flavours that might arise in the brewing process. To put it bluntly, if you get it wrong, you know about it. For a brewery that strives for the highest quality though, that’s the kind of pressure that gets us out of bed in the morning.
Lager is drunk by a plethora of different people, who all have differing expectations from what is a very diverse group of styles. The first lager we brewed was a Vienna lager; a malty, sweet and low bitterness beer that was a popular start to our lager production. Following this we brewed a Helles, a straw coloured, dry lager with a gentle bitterness and a higher ABV. Our most recent iteration in 2022 was a Pilsner, inspired by the world famous Czech lager. A copper coloured beer with a high bitterness and a well balanced sweetness. With every iteration we had a focus on continuous improvement and we learnt from each batch we brewed.
All of these brews led us to Forward. With this lager we wanted to cater to all, without sacrificing the flavour and quality that we are known for in Birmingham. Taking inspiration from the beers that preceded it, we have created a straw coloured lager with a bright and fresh flavour, a clean and lingering bitterness that doesn’t overwhelm, leading you to reach for another sip.
- Appearance: a straw/golden colour with a creamy white head
- Nose: Floral top notes with hints of greengage and granny smith apples, backed up with notes of green tea and pepper
- Pallet: a mild breadyness with a citrus lift and supportive carbonation backed up by a soft noble bitterness
- Finish: a long and robust finish of sweet, floral flavours that a subtle bitterness cuts through
Piarais Crowley, Head of Design
Having grown up in Birmingham and gone on to study visual communication here too, I think it’s important to be able to bring the themes of the city into our can designs and for Forward, I wanted to embody the many directions that Birmingham has taken. Influenced by many different cultures, Birmingham is an incredibly unique city, but as one community we are always moving forward. That’s why forward is the motto of Birmingham.
The unmistakable deep blue from the Birmingham crest forms the core colour of this label, matching the cool, calm, fresh flavour of the beer. The yellow and red colours from the crest also make an appearance, alongside some of the colours used in our other most popular beers, Intuition and Signals. The mix of colours doesn’t just evoke the spirit of Birmingham, but also acts to make it as approachable as the rest of our range, whilst setting it apart from other lagers on the market.
The artwork is made up of weaving arrows, reminiscent of the curved, looping flyovers of Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction. My Grandad was a contractor here and I’ve wanted to use it on a label for ages. I’ve been waiting to find the right beer to feature it and Forward seemed like the perfect choice. Like Spaghetti Junction and the city of Birmingham, the beer goes in many directions but is always moving forward.
Like all of can artwork I do, Forward is designed to be approachable and accessible in order to attract a mix of people. I never want the design to alienate someone and I always want it to be easy to notice and reach for one of our beers. The simple design is recognisable at a glance and is clearly an Attic beer, but the artwork has movement and is exciting enough to move you want to pick up the beer and explore more.