Flying Dog Brewery Wants Beer to be Free

Denver’s own gonzo brewery has gone geek. On May 15 Flying Dog Brewery announced their Open Source Beer Project, hoping to channel the talents of homebrew aficionados everywhere into the creation of their next specialty beer. The idea here is that homebrewers will take the recipe, test it, improve it with their own ideas and then return their knowledge back to the source for incorporation into the über-brew. It works for software (see Firefox, Linux, et al ad infinitum), so why not for beer?

The project Web site explains their purpose and solicits input on potential ingredients.The recipe is starting off as a Doppelbock, a strong, German style lager, but Flying Dog acknowledges it may well evolve into something entirely different once everything is said and done. Actually, there is no recipe to speak of yet, just a style description and a request for input on what ingredients should be used. Once the initial recipe is formalized, beer geeks everywhere can begin iterating the process like their code-monkey brethren in the software world.

The site states that this is believed to be the first open source beer project to hit the market in the US, but two of the four comments on the site reference other open-source beer projects (Autralian company Brewtopia and the brilliantly named Free Beer). And of course, homebrewers have always been engaged in this sort of open-source endeavor (the old-fashioned term is “swapping recipes”) and homebrew Web sites abound with recipes that are freely shared, discussed and tweaked. Really, who cares if it’s the first or not? The idea is great. Anything that holds the potential to make beer, already one of the very best things in life, even better is a project worth keeping an eye on.-- Cory Casciato