This month Wiper and True are proud to share Forza Amici - a brand new beer brewed with our good friends and purveyors of the finest Italian cookery, the Bianchi’s group. Absolute stalwarts of the Bristol food scene, Dom, Ben and Joe (alongside their incredible front of house and kitchen teams) have spent years building a reputation of finest quality cookery and hospitality, and now have five restaurants, a central kitchen and events space, plus a pop-up truck to their name. We are honoured to have worked with this talented and passionate team, devising a beer to pour proudly in their wonderful venues. We’ve called the finished recipe Forza Amici, which roughly translates as ‘cheers to friends’. We hope you enjoy it.
The beer we are about to release has developed slowly, over many cold pints, table-fulls of delicious dishes of food, and long conversations. Our two teams shared beers, wine and ideas, and a lot of back-and-forth about what we might like to brew. When you combine the creativity, knowledge and excitement of a room full of chefs and brewers (plus their food-loving colleagues) you know you’re going to end up with a good thing; the only hard part is narrowing down the focus. We flirted with a huge range of creative sparks, from Aperol spritz sours to Limencello pale ales, and a brief trip down the rabbit hole of mostarda (a kind of spicy candied fruit preserve).
Ultimately though, the inspiration for our beer came from the food. What else, really, could it ever have been? The cookery in restaurants like Bianchi’s and Pasta Ripiena isn’t flashy; it’s about taking top quality ingredients, and treating them carefully. The chefs coax out flavour, and know exactly when to add texture or a contrast to a dish. Often, it’s all about classic recipes done really well, from the comforting indulgence of cacio e pepe to the hearty, almost rugged appeal of lamb with a vivid green salsa verde. We wanted to create a drink that would complement this style of cookery. Nothing flashy, nothing gimmicky. Premium ingredients, treated well, with the intention of a seriously drinkable, enjoyable beer that could be enjoyed with food, complementing rather than distracting from a dish.
From there, we eventually honed in on Pilsners, examining the style in depth before developing a recipe. Brewer Ed led Mitch (an integral part of the Bianchi’s operations team and all round legend) andhis team through a deepdive tasting, giving us a better feel for exactly what the team did and didn’t like in a variety of examples of the style, in turn shaping our ultimate recipe.
This process wasn’t a one-way street though. Interested in riffing on the white wine characteristics demonstrated by some hop varietals, while also paying homage to the Bianchi’s family’s Italian roots, Dom shared several bottles of wine with us, offering us in-depth studies of each with his characteristically impressive expertise. We particularly enjoyed a bottle of Opera from Lake Como, close to where Dom, Joe and Ben’s grandfather was born. Light, fresh, and crispy, with notes of apple and zestiness, all underscored by what Dom described as a ‘limestone’ savoriness, we loved everything about this wine, and ultimately used it to guide our hop selections for the Pilsner.
As well as being an all round fascinating (and highly enjoyable) process, this knowledge exchange provided us with all the information we needed to write a recipe. We selected 100% German barley malts for light, honeyed notes, and dry hopped with Hallertauer Blanc and Nelson Sauvin. There’s balanced bitterness, and that all important savoury edge, but also notes of grape skin and almost an elderflower florality.
We’re really proud of the beer we’ve created, and loved working on this recipe. Look out for Forza Amici in Pasta Ripiena, Pasta Loco, Cotto, Pizza Bianchi’s, Bianchi’s, Centrale and the Wiper and True taprooms throughout July. You’ll also be able to find cans in local shops. Forza Amici!