Aimée Zaph (right) presents the cheque from The Crystal Ship Fundraiser to Kerri Heisler (left). The two pose with Bryan McHale, co-owner of Undercurrent Brewing, who hosted the event and brewed the commemorative beer. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Undercurrent Brewing makes pilsner in memory of Sylvan Laker

Doug Schill was a member of the rock band The Crystal Ship, which lends its name to the new pilsner

Undercurrent Brewing has brewed its first pilsner in memory of a life-long Sylvan Laker.

The pilsner, called The Crystal Ship, helped raise $395 for the Sylvan Lake Music Society at the beer’s launch party on Aug. 17.

The inspiration for the pilsner and fundraiser came from fourth-generation Sylvan Laker Aimée Zaph.

Zaph is the daughter of Doug Schill, a member of Sylvan Lake’s own 1970’s rock band The Crystal Ship.

On the anniversary of her father’s passing she was going through his belongings when she came across the band’s business card.

She and her husband thought the band name would be a cool beer name and shared the story later with friend and Undercurrent Brewing co-owner Bryan McHale.

Zaph told him pilsner was her father’s drink of choice and shortly after The Crystal Ship pilsner was born.

What started as a conversation between friends then evolved into the Crystal Ship Fundraiser.

Zaph chose the Sylvan Lake Music Society as a way to give back to what her dad loved.

“It’s named after his band, he went to school at HJ Cody [High School], he grew up here in Sylvan, [he was] super in involved in the community, he had loved music, so I thought what an awesome thing it would be to give back to what The Crystal Ship was about,” explained Zaph.

The fundraising event saw $1 from every sleeve and pint sold that night donated, and a pirate hat being passed around collecting its own share as well.

Former band member Richard Sivicoe made the trip from Calgary to speak at the event, and Sylvan Lake’s Tatyanna Stoesz provided live music.

The event was an emotional one for Zaph.

“To do something really positive with something so hard is really a beautiful thing,” said a tearful Zaph, adding it was “such a gift” for co-owners McHale and Katherine Blair to do this.

“To be able to give back to the community too is just really important for me and I know my dad would be really proud, and honoured, and humbled.”

Kerri Heisler, teacher at Ecole HJ Cody High School, said the money from the fundraiser is “wonderful” and will be put back into the hands of the students.

She explained the society helps kids cover the costs of honours band and music camps, as well as helping to support the professional development of the band directors.

The Crystal Ship pilsner will remain on the menu until it runs out and is also available in bottles, which feature pictures of Doug Schill on the label.

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