To be honest, we’re not that surprised. That’s what Jess Fierro’s friends were telling her after it was announced that her home brew was the winner of Vice’s Beerland, a six-episode docu-series that highlighted a handful of home brewers from six states across the U.S.
Winning Beerland gives Fierro more than just the title of home brew champion, though. Her prize is a brewing, canning, and distribution deal with Los Angeles’ Golden Road Brewing Co., which Anheuser-Busch purchased in 2015.
Fierro, of Colorado Springs, won with her Doña ’Neta beer. Her recipes takes a traditional Bière de Garde—an ale traditionally brewed in northern France—and infuses it with tart tamarind purée. It’s an ingredient, and beer, that Fierro says is near and dear to her heart. As a child, Fierro made annual summer trips to northwestern Mexico, where she visited her grandmother and helped sell homemade tamarind balls.
“When I think of tamarind, [tamarind balls] are the first thought that come to my head,” Fierro says. About three years ago, though, Fierro was drinking a sour beer and thought of using tamarind in one of her brews instead (tamarind is, itself, fairly acidic and sour). “I began ingredient-building and tried to find which base would pair best [with tamarind].”
The result was a beer that Fierro says serves as a sort of map to her culinary culture. That same culture is one of Fierro’s chief motivators going forward. Although Fierro currently works a day job as a cosmetologist, she hopes this deal will allow her to brew full time.
“My end goal is to open my own brewery,” Fierro says. “My culture is a platform that I want to speak about—but I also want to open opportunities for women and Latinas because I don’t believe there’s enough of us represented in higher positions in brewery operations.”
Although we haven’t been able to get a sample of the beer yet (stay tuned on that), we’re nonetheless excited to try brews from another Colorado brewer doing the Centennial State proud. The Doña ’Neta will be for sale in Denver and Colorado Springs within the next few weeks.