Boatyard Brewing Co.'s EZ Ale was released at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange on Saturday, the same day as an annual memorial run for Officer Eric Zapata. The 35-year-old died in a shootout April 18, 2011, as he and other officers answered a report of shots fired.
"He loved life, and he loved people, and he loved his job," said Connie Bernal, Zapata's mother.
The summer wheat ale is the product of a partnership between Kalamazoo-based Boatyard Brewing and the Eric Zapata Memorial Foundation. Boatyard is donating proceeds from several barrels of beer to the foundation.
The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange also was donating a portion of Saturday's food and drink proceeds to the foundation.
The 5-kilometer Eric Zapata Memorial Run at Kalamazoo Valley Community College drew hundreds of participants. Law enforcement officials were a big part of the tribute, with the Kalamazoo Public Safety Honor Guard starting the race.
"My husband is a police officer in Battle Creek, so I just want to show our support," said Jane Mackey, of Battle Creek. "It weighs on my mind every day when I have to tell my husband goodbye."
Zapata was a 10-year veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety with three children. The Eric Zapata Memorial Foundation offers scholarships for area students to pursue law enforcement careers and training for those already on the job.
"Eric would be looking down and seeing all these people out here doing these things for him," Bernal said. "And he would say, these are my angels — these are angels doing good deeds, good work."