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Behind the Beer

Badass Brewsters of Oskar Blues – Longmont Production Women

March 7, 2019
From left: Lab Technician Andrea Bender, Brewer Diana Locatelli and Cellar Manager Sara Laurienti (featuring Tara the Brewery Dog)

We grabbed a couple pints at the Longmont Tasty Weasel Taproom and caught up with three women on our production squad who have major roles in producing our beers every day, from raw materials to testing finished beers for quality. Brewer Diana Locatelli works in the brewhouse, working with grain and wort and sending it into the fermenters to make beer. Sara Laurenti, Cellar Manager, orchestrates the beer’s journey from fermentation to filtration and everything in-between. Lab Technician Andrea Bender tests beer both before and after it’s packaged for factors like cleanliness, quality and yeast viability.

Locatelli and Laurienti both started out as homebrewers and are now making a career out of beer. Locatelli was chosen in 2018 as Employee of the Trimester at Oskar Blues Longmont for her outstanding leadership qualities. Laurienti started out working in the Oskar Blues Grill & Brew restaurant in Lyons and has grown into her management role in just a few short years. Bender came to Colorado last year from Florida and answered a job posting for a position in our lab, falling fortuitously into the scientific intricacies of a beverage she’s always liked to drink. At the end of the day, all three women are motivated to make great beer. Read on for a Q & A with Locatelli, Laurienti and Bender.

What’s the best part of the job?
Diana: I can’t say enough about the people I work with, plus at the end of the day, you get to tell people you made beer all day, which is the coolest.
Andrea: I get to develop my passion for microbiology and beer every day – plus sensory training is pretty great.
Sara: There is something new every day. There’s no possibility of being bored because I’m always doing something different and solving new problems.

What projects are you currently excited about?
Diana: Our new cross-training programs. I’m excited to learn more – there’s always more to know about beer, and new and better ways to do things.
Andrea: A better testing kit for identifying spoilers in beer – we’re working to improve efficiency, cost and specificity.
Sara: We recently installed our centrifuge. I’m still getting that 100% up and running. It’s pretty exciting because it’s one of the biggest changes we’ve made to the cellar since I have been here. It gives us more opportunity to make different types of beers that we couldn’t always do with just a filter.

Why is it important to celebrate women in beer on international women’s day?
Diana: For one thing, women invented beer! There are plenty of women who enjoy learning about beer, making beer and tippin’ one back at the end of the day.
Andrea: It really brings a new perspective to everything we’re doing. Maybe we’ve been doing something the same way for a long time and a woman looks at it and says, “there’s a way to make this more efficient.”
Sara: Because we’re badasses.

If you were a style of beer, what style would you be?
Diana: Something red – there’s a huge range that a ‘red’ can fall into… but it’s consistently one of my favorite styles.
Andrea: Imperial stout.
Sara: IPA.

What are you drinking lately?
Diana: I’m looking forward to drinking goses once warm weather hits.
Andrea: I really liked Bamburana, and Can-O-Bliss of course.
Sara: Mama’s is my go-to after work beer.

Next time you enjoy a delicious craft beer in a can, send a good vibe out to the hard-working women who make your beer every day. Happy International Women’s Day!

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