Whether you are a St. Louis native or a transplant to our great city, you probably know that we have an affinity for those who hail from St. Louis. Be it be World Series MVP David Freese, that suave actor Jon Hamm, or even our continuing fascination with Nelly, we always have a soft spot for our own. Well did you know that one of the most highly regarded craft breweries in the country has a St. Louis native running their pilot brewing system?

Meet Laura Ulrich, Stone Brewing Company‘s Small Batch Brewer. Small Batch Brewers at Stone take care of the barrel-aging program, oversee casks for local and national accounts, and manage the pilot brewing system, where they try new recipes as well as make special creations and unique one-offs. With all of that also comes conducting tasting panels, upkeep of inventory, and the tracking of these beers progress.

A graduate of Bishop DuBourg High School (you know you were gonna ask), Laura attended Lindenwood University where she earned a degree in English. After college, she moved to Fort Collins, CO where she worked as a bartender for a while and started learning about craft beers. There was an opening at one of the local breweries–Odell Brewing Co. and she couldn’t wait to apply. Part of her interview was hands on, and by her own admission, she wasn’t very good at hand packing bottles into the cases.

I knew in my heart it would be something that I could learn and master. I was told working on the bottling line would be hard, but I was hell bent on proving that I could do it.

Although she always loved Odell Brewing Co (and still does), Laura always wanted to live in Southern California. Hearing that Stone Brewing Company had an opening on the line, she applied.

I was given the job and 30 days to move out, so I packed my car and my cat and we headed west, not knowing anyone or what would happen

Laura has been with Stone Brewing Co. since March of 2004. Starting off on the bottling line and working her way up through the cellar, to the Brewhouse, and then as the Brewery Trainer, before landing her latest gig as Small Batch Brewer. She’s the brewer behind the Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean, which came about after tasting a Stone Smoked Porter Real Beer Float.

I was the only female on the line, in the cellar, and then eventually the first female to brew at Stone Brewing Co. Working here has opened my ideas and my passion for beer and brewing. I recall buying my brother homebrewing books while I worked at Odell’s, never thinking that brewing was for me until I got to San Diego.

It’s led to all sorts of cool projects, like helping start the Pink Boots Society, a professional group for women in the beer industry, now with over 800 members!

And while it’s definitely been a crazy ride, I wouldn’t change a thing

Want to meet Laura? Well we’ve got a few events planned during St. Louis Craftbeer Week where you’ll get a chance:

Wednesday August 1st
3 Way Stone IPA – The Royale – 4PM
Free Event (Food and drink available for purchase)
Join Laura Ulrich and Nate Sellergren from Stone as they’ll be discussing three different versions of an IPA. You’ll have your chance to try Stone IPA, a firkin of Stone IPA w/ Newport, and Ruination IPA.

Beer School – Cicero’s – 6:15PM-7:15PM
Free Event (Food and drink available for purchase)
Join Nate Sellergren and Laura Ulrich of Stone Brewing Company as they discuss Stone beer and Stone Brewery. IPA and Double Dry-Hopped IPA will be available to taste.

Thursday August 2nd
Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean Tapping – Wild Flower Restaurant – 5-6:30
Free Event (Drinks available for purchase)
Meet Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich and taste her now famous creation: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean

Ruination Domination! – International Tap House (Soulard) – 7PM
Free Event (Drinks available for purchase)
Featuring Laura Ulrich and Mate Sellergren from Stone
Special tapping of Stone Ruination, Double Dry-Hopped Ruination, Ruination 10th Anniversary and Ruination Cask w/ Chinook

Make sure to come out and show Laura some hometown craftbeer love!