She rose to the top in the semifinals - a meet-and-chat and brew-tasting with “Beerland” host Meg Gill - and now viewers in Colorado Springs can watch local homebrewer and aspiring brewery owner Jessica Fiero compete for the show’s grand prize, a brewing, canning and distribution deal with Gill’s Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing. The season finale of “Beerland” airs 8 p.m. Thursday on Viceland TV.
Read an interview with Fiero, who was first featured in Episode 4 of “Beerland” on May 18, in The Gazette’s Pikes Pub column:
Jessica Fiero wasn't always a fan of beer, but that wasn't on account of any quirk of the taste buds.
Blame dad brews.
"I'm very Mexican-American - born and raised in San Diego - and what I knew is what my dad drank, which was Tecate or Corona," said Fiero.
After she married and moved with her husband to Germany, however, Fiero realized there was much more to beer than the insipid lagers with which she was familiar. The suds floodgates opened.
"I learned there are different styles, and there really is a style for everyone," she said. "I just think it's a matter of going in and tasting and getting to know the different kinds."
So in the motherland of beer, that's what she did. By the time she and her husband returned to the States, and to Colorado Springs, Fiero knew enough about the beverage, its culture and the industry to know she was landing in a "Napa Valley" of craft beer.
"I was so lucky," she said.
Some might say good beer luck factored in a bit later, when Fiero decided to throw her hat in the ring after spotting a posting on Facebook seeking amateur beer makers willing to contribute to a group brew project. Fiero thought she was signing up for a small-time event for homebrewers - until she got the call from a producer at Viceland TV's "Beerland," a six-episode docuseries/competition that premiered on the recreation-focused cable network in late April.
Hosted by craft brewery founder Meg Gill - aka the "youngest female brewery owner in the United States" - the series aims to guide viewers through the landscape of modern homebrewing by visiting the communities where craft beer plays a powerful role and speaking with - and sampling the creations of - its DIY brewers.
"We talked about my personal connection with beer and the craft industry, and she definitely had to taste my beer and give me her thoughts," said Fiero, who hosted Gill and a TV crew at her home earlier this year.
Fiero is one of three Colorado homebrewers featured in episode four competing for the chance to join Gill in Los Angeles for a final taste-off and a "big time distribution deal" top prize.
"I'll be watching with everybody else. I have no idea who I'm even up against," Fiero said.
A cosmetologist by training and trade, Fiero started homebrewing about eight years ago and shortly thereafter began considering the latter pursuit on a more serious level. Mixing hair dyes to achieve the perfect shade isn't so different than the creative alchemy required in making a delicious beer, she said.
"The very same things I'm so passionate about in the cosmetology and barbering world are what drew me into the brewing world: Everything's up to you to create and master on your own level," said Fiero, 39, who hopes to open her own brewery in the Springs.
"I would love to be the first Latina- owned brewery in my area - more specifically, Chicana Mexican American - with a female owner and head brewer."