Special ale will honor fallen Comstock fire chief

Boatyard Brewing Company
Boatyard Brewing Company. (July 20, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo brewery is adding a new ale to its tap list. It’s a special beer, brewed to memorialize Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski, who was killed in the line of duty last month.

“He was a great man and the firemen that are here are good friends,” said Brian Steele of Boatyard Brewing Company.

On Wednesday night, Switalski’s fellow firefighters decided to honor him with a special brew. They hope it will help keep his memory alive.

Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue Chief Ed Switalski
An undated courtesy photo of Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue Chief Ed Switalski.

“When the chief came here from Illinois, he didn’t enjoy beer,” said Kevin Thompson with Kalamazoo F.O.O.L.S., a firefighting organization. “He wasn’t used to it, so obviously, it’s Kalamazoo and we’ve got the best breweries in the state, so we taught him how to enjoy beer and this is where it started.”

Boatyard Brewing previously created EZ Ale to honor fallen Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2011.

Thompson and Steele say Switalski’s beer will be a red ale.

“Ed loved it, so we’re going to stick with that,” Thompson said.

“It’s a great drinking, British-style beer,” Steele said.

Beyond that, they aren’t releasing many details about the ale, including what it will be named.

“I think we got one good name,” Steele said.

Though the beer is a nice gesture, both men agree they would rather share a beer with Switalski than make one in his honor.

“It’s tough,” Thompson said, “but I think being around the good friends here helps and that’s why we keep coming back. That’s what Ed would do.”