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My Buddy Pete

A former co-worker inspired the name behind our 2024 Belgian Wit.


Nearly 40 years ago, my friend and former co-worker Peter was a young pilot in the Coast Guard flying the HH-52 Seaguard, an amphibious helicopter. His primary area of operations was the Great Lakes region in the northeastern US.

One afternoon while on patrol over Lake St. Claire to the east of Detroit, Michigan, Peter’s helicopter experienced an unexpected engine failure – yes, while flying over water.

My Buddy Pete Belgian Wit

Peter and his co-pilot skillfully auto-rotated and executed a forced landing onto the lake.

After radioing back to home plate, he was advised to wait for a small boat to arrive with replacement parts. With nothing to do but wait and think, Peter climbed out of the cockpit and onto the float.

There he watched the evening sun, and decided all the day’s action warranted a nap.

He later told me, “It was interesting… the greatest terror I had ever experienced followed by the most serene peace. Before I fell asleep, I remember thinking ‘I should’ve brought a fishing pole!’” 

My buddy Pete passed away in 2020. In his passing, I was inspired to live fully while I'm alive and is in part why I decided to launch Aviator Brew Hub and create a community hub in Stewartstown, PA.

This beer and the retelling of his story are intended purely as a tribute to his influence on many of us and to a life fully lived.  

~David Elwell, co-owner, brewmaster

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