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Jul 29, 2014

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GABF brewers' diaries

Todd Ashman

Denver - Sept. 27

The clock didn't tick backward today. Nope, it went pretty darn fast. It was a great day. Since May I've sort of known this was going to be my last GABF with Flossmoor Station. I knew I'd stay in the craft beer business somehow and that was settled about a month ago when I accepted a new job as brewmaster at Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay.

I had just a little unfinished business. I wanted to prove something to myself and to those who have watched from the sidelines that the beer I brewed at Flossmoor Station regardless of it's "exotic" nature was good, solid product judged by my peers to be the best or close to the best in the country.

I got my wish. In each of seven years at Flossmoor Station and seven GABF's I have taken home a medal. In four of those seven years I took home two medals. 11 medals, 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze.

My final medal was for Honey Act Your Sage a Belgian Style Tripel brewed with White Sage Honey instead of Belgian Candi Sugar. Though I hoped for another medal or two it wasn't meant to be. Too many eggs in one basket, as Dan Carey of New Glarus double medaled in wood aged beers and Pete Crowley of Rock Bottom again took the Gold. I know it comes down to the best beer on the table the day the beer is judged so I know the choices were right. I'm very happy with my Gold and will am ever so happy with my record. I have a new "medal dynasty" to start up in Green Bay....

To be honest there is another story to tell for the 2003 GABF. This year belongs to Pizza Port Solana Beach. I honestly think it is quiet fitting the Tomme Arthur and Jeff Bagby got the recognition they have deserved for so long. Great beers, creative packaging and, well, more great beers. The number of styles of beer they brew are amazing, and all executed very well. I wish for just a minute that I had the time and leeway to brew that many beers. Congrats Tomme and Jeff! I really look forward to being in San Diego next April to enjoy the new Beer Nirvana! In addition to winning Small Brewpub and Brewmaster of the Year, I think you've personally convinced that San Diego is the epicenter of California brewing and not the San Francisco Bay Area. A truly amazing feat. Again congrats!

I'll close my diary by saying this was a great GABF. Denver a wonderful city to visit, and proved to be a gracious host as always. I also have to say it was a great way to close my tenure at Flossmoor Station. I cannot begin to tell you the number of "good lucks" and "well wishes" I got. Next year I'll be there and I look forward to a new set of challenges! Thanks for taking the time to read my rants, thoughts and rambles....

Cheers!

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