Suffolk Hotel Celebrates ‘The Friendly Invasion’ With A Commemorative Beer

The Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa has commissioned St Peter’s Brewery to create a special commemorative beer to celebrate Suffolk’s friendly invasion by US airmen during the Second World War.

The 487th Commemorative Beer is a delicious 4.7% ABV golden ale that will be served in the Airmen’s Bar at the hotel, which has two AA rosettes for its fine dining. It proudly commemorates the 487th BG, 8th USAAF who were stationed at RAF Lavenham.

During the Second World War, East Anglia became home to thousands of US airmen. The United States 8th Army Air Force (USAAF) arrived in 1942, and between 1942 and 1945 there were, at any one time, around 50,000 USAAF personnel stationed across East Anglia. The impact of this ‘friendly invasion’ on local communities was considerable, particularly in villages where American servicemen (and women) vastly outnumbered the local population. Initial suspicion and prejudice towards the GIs rapidly disappeared among those who got to know them. It was a time of jitterbugging dances and big band sounds, and the first taste of peanut butter, chewing gum and coke for many people in East Anglia.

For the Swan at Lavenham whose Airmen’s Bar was frequented by the US airmen during the war, this part of history is firmly etched into the 15th century oak-beamed hotel and the bar itself still bears the history of its drinkers with an inspiring collection of signatures and mementos adorning the walls. “It is 75 years since American Airmen arrived in East Anglia. They played a huge part in the history of The Swan and we felt it was important to commemorate it,” explains Jane Larcombe, Business Development Manager for TA Hotel Collection, which runs the Swan. “We hope our guests will raise a pint of the 487th Commemorative Beer to all those American airmen who played a vital role in the history of our country.”

“When we were approached by The Swan to develop a beer, we were only too pleased to help,” adds Steve Magnall, CEO at St Peter’s Brewery. “The 487th Commemorative Beer is a light, golden ale, with caramel aromas, a pleasing toffee apple flavour and a late bitterness. We hope it pays tribute to the US airmen and reminds people of this interesting part of East Anglian history