A special beer tapping for fallen Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman was held at Municipal Brew Works on Friday afternoon.
The brewery is honoring Wolterman with a special beer, according to the owners. Wolterman was killed in an arson on Dec. 28, 2015, and his death was ruled a homicide by the Butler County Coroner’s Office.
A private tapping was held early in the afternoon that was attended by the fallen firefighter’s family, members of the fire department and invited guests. More than 100 people turned out at 4 p.m. for the unveiling of Woltermelon Blonde Ale.
Sean Willingham, head brewer of Municipal Brew works and one of the founders and owners, said the beer is a tribute to Wolterman and a tribute to summer.
“Patrick tragically lost his life while bravely doing his job as a Hamilton firefighter,” Willingham said. “Patrick’s family explained to us that he became a fan of watermelon flavored beer after trying it at a Hamilton Fire Dept. picnic.”
He added that it “was fitting” to have Wolterman’s name on the beer as a tribute. “It was slotted as a seasonal beer, and this is exactly what we wanted,” Willingham said. “To have a sense of community and be able to sit down and have a beer together.”
Wolterman’s father Bob was choked up with emotion as he composed his thoughts about his son and the what the naming of a beer in his honor meant to the family.
“I really love the name and I get choked up when I hear the name…it was really nice when I heard the name,” Bob said. “My son was always light-hearted and very happy. I think he’s up there (Heaven) chuckling. What a good day - I love it. This is the way he would loved to be remembered.”
Proceeds from the sales of Woltermelon beer and also one called Station 2 will offset the expenses of sending Hamilton firefighters and the department’s Honor Guard to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Maryland and the International Association of Firefighters Memorial in Colorado, said Tony Harris, president of the Hamilton Fire Fighters Local 20.
“There really isn’t a budget for the Honor Guard, and this will really help them,” Harris said. “Patrick would just really love this and be honored.”