Ale for fallen Comstock fire chief gets name, release date

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

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Last month, we were the first to bring you the story about a special beer made in honor of Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski, who was killed earlier this summer in the line of duty.

Those responsible for the beer were keeping one big secret: what to call the beer.

“There was a lot of discussion,” said Kevin Thompson with Kalamazoo Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Sociey, a firefighting organization. “So many names were thrown around, but we tried to best memorialize Ed and the kind of person he was.”

In June, Switalski was killed in the line of duty. Last month, the firefighters he left behind decided to honor him with a special brew.

“It makes me feel really excited but also very emotional,” said Emily Switalski, Ed’s daughter. “It’s something that unfortunately I never thought would have to happen, but since the accident did happen I think it’s a great way to honor him because he was so much more than just a fire chief, so I feel like this gets to show people the more everyday side of him.”

Making the beer is the easy part. The hard part is what to name the special brew. In the end, they named the beer “Fast Eddie.”

“And the reason for that is he was always on the go, always moving around,” Thompson said.

Switalski’s daughter agreed with the decision.

“He never slowed down,” Emily said. “My mom used to pick on him a lot saying, ‘you don’t need another project, you have so many.’ But that’s just what he loved to do. He loved helping people, he loved getting involved in whatever he could.”

Boatyard Brewing Company is crafting a red ale, a beer Thompson says the chief would’ve enjoyed.

“Before we moved to Michigan, he did not like beer at all,” Emily said. “And so once we moved here he started really getting into it.”

“It really shows just like how much of an impact he made with in the four years of being here, and I have no words about it, it’s awesome people can remember him, get to know a little bit about him through this beer,” she said.

Thompson said Fast Eddie will be released Sept. 9, which also happens to be the chief’s wedding anniversary.