Detroit brewery brings Mike Sadler tribute beer to Michigan
Atwater brewery, in collaboration with a Denver-based brewery, is bringing a popular beer honoring the life of a fallen MSU football player to Michigan.
The beer, called "Hey Diddle Diddle," was originally crafted by Jagged Mountain Brewery and launched in Colorado. The drink was created in an effort to pay homage to Mike Sadler, who passed away in 2016.
The name of the wheat ale beverage comes from a trick play used by Sadler. The play – “Hey Diddle Diddle, send Sadler up the middle” – was successfully converted by Sadler on a fake punt attempt during MSU’s 2013-14 Rose Bowl season.
As an MSU graduate and die-hard fan, Atwater owner Mark Rieth, said he jumped at the opportunity to be involved with "Hey Diddle Diddle" when he heard Jagged Mountain was in need of a brewery to help produce and distribute the beer in Michigan.
“For me it was more about trying to help out a cause and raise some money for the Mike Sadler Foundation and keep his legacy alive,” Rieth said.
Sadler was an All-American football player as a punter at MSU and a four-time Academic All-American, and graduated with a 3.97 GPA. He tragically lost his life in a fatal car accident in July 2016.
According to a press release by Atwater, a portion of all "Hey Diddle Diddle" sales will benefit the Michael Sadler foundation, which was created by his mother Karen.
The idea to make a beer honoring Sadler was originated by Mark Porteous, an MSU graduate and board member of the MSU Rocky Mountain Alumni Club. The club hosted an event in Denver this past June in an effort to raise money for the Mike Sadler foundation.
Porteous said he approached Jagged Mountain owner and MSU alumnus, R.J. Banat, with the intentions of making a batch of a customized beer as a tribute to Sadler exclusively for the event, since the punter had picked up a hobby of home brewing.
“I emailed R.J. and just kind of asked him if he would be interested in doing a custom beer, maybe just a couple of kegs of it for our event,” Porteous said.
The beer – brewed with oranges, apricots, Belgian yeast, and roses – was crafted by Jagged Mountain’s brewer Adam Glaser, who Banat said consulted with Karen to ensure the beverage was unique to Sadler.
“The apricots and the orange peel, those were flavors that he really liked in his beers,” Banat said. “We also added some rose water from rose petals because the Rose Bowl was kind of a significant thing in his life.”
While the initial plan for Banat was to just release the drink at the Colorado Spartan Social and sell it in the brewery’s taproom, he said the large amount of demand for the beer from people in Michigan convinced him to consider expansion.
“So many people were calling that we actually kind of created a frequently asked questions list next to the phone,” Banat said.
The drink was first launched in East Lansing Saturday, Sept. 9 at Fieldhouse and Kellogg Center. Rieth praised the consumer support of the beer after its debut in Michigan.
“It has been absolutely tremendous,” Rieth said. “Those kinds of things are really exciting and one that we want to keep going, so we’re ramping up the production on it.”
The beer will be released in locations in Grand Rapids and Detroit later this month.