For a number of years, Todd Ashman had the idea to formulate an interesting and unusual beer, share that recipe, and conduct tastings of the various interpretations. This collaboration would serve to demonstrate that just as each brewer has a distinctive brewing style, each brewery also has attributes that make it unique; the local water supply, brewing equipment and ingredient sources all contribute to the distinctive character of a beer. Todd found that special beer in Concentrated Evil: a strong, dark, Belgian-style ale that was originally brewed at Todd’s home base, FiftyFifty Brewing Company in Truckee, California. Concentrated Evil is made with a variety of unusual ingredients including raisins, exotic sugars and aromatic spices. The complex array of flavors and moderately high level of alcohol make this an outstandingly unique beer. Todd chose fellow brewers Zac Triemert and Matt Van Wyk to participate as he has worked with both gentlemen in various capacities.
Zac Triemert, Co-President and Co-Founder of the newly established Lucky Bucket Brewing Company, holds a bachelors degree in microbiology and a masters degree in brewing & distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Zac is the winner of numerous national and international brewing awards. Zac is also a member of various committees for the Brewers Association and a member of their Board of Directors. Zacâ€™s newest venture is opening Nebraskaâ€™s first craft distillery. Operations for The SÃ²las Distillery begin next spring. When asked about this brewing project, Zac stated: â€œConcocting this collaboration beer with two brewing friends continues to be a terrific amount of fun. We all plan to put our own unique spin on what is already a great beer. After these beers have sufficient time maturing in wood, the tasting events will be a kick.â€
Matt Van Wyk is Brewmaster for Flossmoor Station Brewing Company in Flossmoor, Illinois (Todd Ashman’s alma mater). He attended the renowned Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois in 2001. Matt was formerly a science teacher and previously worked at three other Chicago area breweries. Matt is the recipient of several regional, national, and international brewing awards. In 2006 he was awarded the Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year and Flossmoor Station was named Small Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado. â€œIt is an honor to be asked to participate with these two great brewers in this collaboration project. It just shows what a great industry we work in where cooperation is often more valued than competition. Crafting a beer with Todd and Zac has been a great experience,â€ said Matt.
Todd Ashman began his long brewing career in 1987 as a homebrewer. After completing a craft brewerâ€™s apprenticeship program, Todd brewed professionally in New Mexico, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2004 Todd joined the Brewers Supply Group division of Rahr Malting as Staff Brewmaster. In 2007 Todd returned to brewing and his native California as Brewmaster for FiftyFifty Brewing Company. He has received numerous regional, national and international brewing awards. Many of those awards have been for beers that utilized unusual and unique ingredients and/or processes. Todd’s thoughts: “Iâ€™ve been thinking about working on a Collaboration for sometime now. I really wanted to work with a couple of brewers that knew each other and Iâ€™m really glad that Matt and Zac signed on to try this out. These guys have amazing brewing talent and the end result of our Collaboration will not only be fun for our customers at our respective breweries but especially fun for folks at the 2008 GABF. The chance to try our respective beers under one roof will be great!â€