Atwater Brewery taps Mike Sadler tribute beer in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  Former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler died in a car accident in July 2016. And now, he's being remembered with a tribute beer that was tapped in Grand Rapids for the first time this month.

It's called the "Hey Diddle Diddle". The craft beer comes from Jagged Mountain Brewery in Denver, and is named after a memorable fake-punt play the Spartans pulled off for a first down against Iowa in a 2013 game.

Atwater Brewery owner Mark Rieth is a Michigan State fan who found out about the beer, and wanted to find a way to brew it in Michigan.

"I was lucky enough to meet (Mike's mother) Karen Sadler at our Grand Rapids location. And we made a test batch about a month-and-a-half ago," says Rieth. "Everything went great, and then we brought it into full production at our plant in Detroit."

Rieth tells FOX 17 they were able to recreate the recipe that was concocted in Colorado. "So, we were pretty excited about having this full-production run done at our Detroit plant, and then making a special one here in Grand Rapids. Because it's Mike's hometown."

Rieth says "Hey Diddle Diddle" will be available in select Meijer stores in Grand Rapids and East Lansing. He notes that Mike Sadler liked fruit-forward beers, and says this one is an American wheat-based brew.

"And then, we added Blood Orange and apricot flavoring. And that really gives it that nice, awesome fruity-punch flavor in the beginning," says Rieth.

He says they then added rose-petal water after the fermentation process was completed to give the craft beer a nice round feel.

"So, it's very well-balanced, easy to drink. Great beer for an awesome, hot tailgate party."

Rieth says he's received a lot of positive feedback about its taste from people who are also pleased it's now available in Mike Sadler's hometown.

"It's just our little way of trying to keep (Sadler's) memory alive, and his legacy alive."

Geoff Fields agrees. He says his family has a personal connection to the Sadler family. Fields' daughter, Taylor, was a close friend of Mike's, and then he became friends with the football star.

"This is great. Whatever can be done to perpetuate not just his memory, but his influence on people. I miss him quite a bit," said Fields.

This isn't the first time the community has raised a glass to Mike Sadler. In July, a Celebration of Life was held at Founders, where the brew, Sadler's Run was tapped.

 

 

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