Norfolk brewery’s new beer honours hero pilot

The memory of a maverick Czech-born World War Two ace has been honoured with the creation of a new hand-crafted lager which will soon be hitting pub taps and supermarket shelves.

The latest offering by the Wolf Brewery, based at Besthorpe near Attleborough, is named Lone Wolf and commemorates the brave antics of Hurricane pilot Josef Frantisek.

Following repeated reprimands for lack of discipline, allied airman Sgt Frantisek was banned from flying in formation during the Battle of Britain and was instead allowed to mount his own lone missions against the Luftwaffe - which met with spectacular success.

The Lone Wolf, as he was nicknamed, was credited with shooting 17 German aircraft in one month making him one of the campaign's top scoring pilots.

He died in 1940 after crashing into a runway during a landing approach shortly after receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

The sale of the lager that now bears his name will generate funds for the Royal Air Forces Association's (RAFA) Wings Appeal, which works to support serving and former RAF personnel.

The recipe is still being finalised by head brewer Derek Dunstan but test samples are already going down well at the RAF Club in Piccadilly, London.

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Plans are also in place to distribute the lager - the first in the Wolf Brewery's history - to RAF stations, pubs and talks are ongoing with national supermarket chains.

The aim is to officially launch Lone Wolf this spring to be sold alongside a collection of four beers released by the brewery last year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which have so far raised more than �5,000 for RAFA.

It also follows hot on the heels of a similar fundraising effort by the business to generate money for the Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Fund. Its ale called Royal Anglian helped raise more than �5,400 for the charity between May and September.

Brewery owner John Edwards said: 'This all started with the Royal Anglian Regiment and we're pleased to help raise money for RAFA. The support from the RAF has been so good and we're happy to support them. We'll continue doing more products for them in future.'

On the impending launch of Lone Wolf, he said: 'We tried it out in our own pub - we actually tried it out in Yorkshire and it was so successful and the demand was so great that we know the product will be a good long term investment. It's exciting - people are now wanting hand-crafted lagers.'

Nathan Wride, head of sales, said admiration for Sgt Frantisek among today's RAF pilots made him an obvious choice to front the brewery's latest fundraiser.

'I worked with the MoD and we kept migrating towards this same character and he became the natural face for the product,' he said.

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