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Boatyard Brewery honors fallen fire chief with tapping of new beer

Kalamazoo's Boatyard Brewing kicks off beer week with a special drink on tap in honor of fallen Comstock fire chief Ed Switalski.

Kalamazoo's Boatyard Brewing kicks off beer week with a special drink on tap in honor of fallen Comstock fire chief Ed Switalski.

Beer wasn't Switalski's first choice, just ask Kevin Thompson.

“When he came here from Illinois, he was not a huge beer fan at all,” Thompson said.

A few trips here to Boatyard Brewing Company in Kalamazoo changed his tune.

But, friends say his true drink of choice was Traverse City Whiskey.

So in honor of Switalski, Boatyard released a new beer Saturday for an event fittingly called Together for Ed.

“I was able to name it Damnit Ed! like you should be here to taste this awesomeness but yes, we're super excited,” Holly Switalski, Ed’s wife, said.

This special beer has been aged in a barrel donated from Traverse City Whiskey.

Brian Steele, Boatyard Brewing Company CEO & President

“A lot of our regular customers become family to us and when Ed passed, it was hard for us,” Brian Steele, Boatyard’s CEO and president, said. “It was really hard for the firefighters, and for Holly and her family, and we all kind of came together. We support them.”

The Comstock community lost Switalski in June 2017. He was killed on I-94, after responding to a crash.

Holly says he was a man who put family first, but his purpose in life was serving his community. She says that's what keeps her going.

“I know that Ed would do anything possible to support a good cause, and I feel like he is the wind beneath my wings right now,” Holly said. “He is the one motivating me, carrying me through all of the events and upcoming events.

Some of the proceeds from today's event will go to a memorial in Chief Switalski's honor.

For more information and events happening during Kalamazoo Beer Week, check out their website.

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