Aimee Zaph, right, presents the cheque from The Crystal Ship fundraiser to Kerri Heisler. Bryan McHale, co-owner of Undercurrent Brewing, hosted a fundraiser and brewed a commemorative beer in honour of her father. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Black Press Media

Brewery produces pilsner in memory of Sylvan Lake musician

A Sylvan Lake brewing company has produced its first pilsner in memory of a life-long community resident.

The pilsner, called The Crystal Ship, helped raise $395 for the Sylvan Lake Music Society at the beer’s launch party earlier this month.

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

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

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

She and her husband thought the band’s name would make an interesting name for a beer and shared the story 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 evolved into the Crystal Ship Fundraiser.

Zaph chose the Sylvan Lake Music Society as the beneficiary, 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 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 to the society. A hat being passed around collected 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 brewery 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.”

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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