Atrevida Beer Company
Dolores Huerta Mexican Lager
Colorado Springs, CO
Like many brewers, Jessica Fierro began her career in her garage, mastering the craft of homebrewing, but from that point forward her story became rather unusual. While stationed in Germany, Fierro and her U.S. Army veteran husband, Rich, fell in love with craft beer. After returning to Colorado, she was determined to learn the trade herself and she tirelessly hunted down local brewers seeking any guidance she could get. In 2017, while still a homebrewer, Fierro entered the Viceland brewing competition/TV show called Beerland and her beer, Doña Neta, a Bière de garde-style brew and tribute to her grandmother Ernestina Martinez whose homemade tamarind candy became the backbone of the recipe, took first place. The brew was then purchased and distributed by Golden Road Brewing while Fierro went on to open her own brewery: Atrevida Beer Company. Today, in the middle of a white, male-dominated industry, Atrevida stands out as the first Latin-owned brewery in all of Colorado and, quite possibly, the only Latina-owned brewery in the U.S.A. It would be fair to call Fierro a bold, daring and fearless woman, or, even better, an atrevida.
It should come as no surprise that Fierro often names her brews after other bold, daring and fearless women, and in the case of her Mexican Lager, the legendary American leader Dolores Huerta was given the honor. Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta (April 10, 1930) was born in Dawson, NM and often heard her father, a coal miner, talk of the need for workers to organize in order to improve their labor conditions. Her parents divorced when she was only three years old and she moved with her mother to Stockton, CA, although she managed to keep a close relationship with her father who stayed in New Mexico and eventually became a state representative.
Huerta’s mother worked multiple jobs on local farms while she went to school. As a child, she was very successful in school but was also exposed to the rampant racism that was directed towards Mexican-Americans in Southern California at the time. She even once had a teacher accuse her of copying another student’s work because the teacher didn’t believe that someone from her ethnic background could be so smart. After school, Huerta married, had two children, divorced, completed a degree at Stockton College (now San Joaquin Delta College) and began teaching elementary school, but this career didn’t last long. As a teacher, Huerta had a front-row seat to the economic hardships that many Mexican-American children and their families, especially farming families, lived with so she quit her job to become an activist and spokesperson for the poor. In 1955, she helped found a branch of a civil rights group called the Community Service Organization (CSO) and remarried a man named Ventura Huerta, with whom she had five children.
But the true breakthrough in Heurta’s storied career began in 1960 when she first met another CSO worker named Cesar Chavez. Huerta had just established the Agricultural Workers Association but she then went on to found the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Chavez in 1962. Together, Chavez and Huerta fought for better worker rights and living conditions for agricultural families and while Chavez was often considered the face of the movement, Huerta was always at his side, organizing and negotiating the necessary details. In 1965, the NFWA joined forces with other organizations and became the United Farm Workers (UFW), and after Chavez inspired the Delano, CA grape growers to strike, Huerta negotiated a contract with 26 grape growing companies. This contract, the first in American history to effectively bargain between an agricultural organization on behalf of farm laborers, guaranteed the workers less exposure to pesticides, improved working conditions, and unemployment and medical benefits. The signing of this contract is still considered a watershed moment in the history of American farm labor as well as the point from which nearly all improvements in agricultural labor conditions have since grown.
Huerta and Chavez’s success with the grape growers sparked a movement and Huerta’s next move was to organize a boycott by lettuce growers, which led to the passage of the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law in the U.S. to grant farm workers the right to bargain collectively. Throughout the era, she continued to represent workers and families in need, helped found organizations focused on worker’s rights, became vice president of the UFW and even by starting the UFW’s radio station.
During her lifetime, Huerta has been arrested 22 times, always for non-violent protest, and even stood at Robert F. Kennedy’s side on June 5, 1968 while he delivered his victory speech after winning the California Democratic Primary. Only moments after the speech, Kennedy was assassinated. She was severely beaten and nearly killed in 1988 by a San Francisco police officer while protesting a visit by then-presidential candidate George H. W. Bush. The beating resulted in six broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, massive changes in the SFPD’s crowd control policies and a large settlement, all of which she donated to farm workers.
Huerta was named one of the three most important women of the year by Ms. magazine in 1997, and in 1998 was listed as one of the “100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century” by Ladies Home Journal. That same year, President Bill Clinton honored her with the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights. She established the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2002 to help promote women into roles of leadership, has received a litany of honorary degrees and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S., by President Barack Obama in 2012. In 2018, Huerta even took the stage at the Academy Awards to join the performers Common and Andra Day as they performed their song “Stand up for Something”, and the last two California governors have designated the last two April 10ths to be Dolores Huerta Day. Now 90 years old, Huerta continues to lecture and deliver speeches as well as offer advice to those looking to fight social injustice.
Dolores Huerta is a champion of humanity. Her hard work and dedication changed an entire industry and helped millions of people overcome the perils of poverty. Such a legacy is certain to cast a large net and part of it has fallen over Atrevida Beer Company in Colorado Springs where another Latina has been inspired to make a difference of her own.
From the Brewer: Crisp, smooth, light, refreshing and easy drinking
ABV 6%, IBU 24
Jessica Fierro - Owner and Head Brewer, Richard Fierro - Owner