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Rich Pawlak | Sep 14, 200201:57 PM

Todd Ashman, brewer at Flossmoor Station, and a perennial medal winner at beer competitions all over the country, made his first ever trip to Philadelphia, to serve up 6 of his beers at a wild beer dinner at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia on September 10.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Ashman's beers, and his enevelope-pushing variations on traditional recipes, but his visit to Philadelphia flat-out blew away the beer congnocenti, and many Chowhounds, at this dinner. What a talent you have in your own backyard.

A quick recap for Chicago Chowhounds:

The dinner at Monk's Cafe in Philly was incredible! Todd brought his best

A Framboise De Flossmoor as a pre-dinner beer. Crisp, tart, full or raspberries but not cloyingly sweet, with some hop character shining through. A delightful aperitif.

It was followed by perfect,
briny pickled oysters paired with Ashman's "Bill & Todd's Excellent IPA", a
whollop of an IPA, made with special-order Amarillo hops and some Centennial,
just bursting with good hop flavor. Knocked everyone on theri collective asses.

"Todd'sTupelo Tripel" followed, paired with Roast Quail in Tupelo Honey Glaze
atop Jasmine and Basmati rices, the beers fragrant and sweet with Tupelo honey,
the quail plump and flawlessly roasted, the rices combined clever and equally fragrant.

"Old Conundrum" barleywine, aged in a Jack Daniels cask, followed, paired with a
Mussel Bisque that was pure silk. The barleywine was pure sin in a glass,
smooth, innocent and layered with flavor. A genius beer.

Two beers accompanied the next course, a large Venison and Leek Dumpling:
Ashman's signature Pullman Brown Ale and his Abbaye Dubbel, a great tri-pairing
of rich malt in the brown ale and simple candied sweetness and roast in the
Dubbel with an earthy venison preparation.

Two beers came with dessrt, a Bitterseeet chocolate Brownie disk: "Old
Conundrum" differently aged in a new, charred oak barrel, redolent of good oakiness and some
smoke, and a surprise beer, Todd's two-year-old "Eclipse Imperial Stout", like the
finest expresso beans and dark chocolate with chest-warming oomph.

Most every major player in Philly's beer community attended, including brewers
from Dogfish Head, Yards and Nodding Head, who were very obviously blown away by
Ashman's bold, bold beers.

A truly memorable dining and beer experience at Monk's Cafe in Philly. You lucky Chicago hounds, having Ashman's art so close!

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