There once was a time when brewing was an esoteric art. Its methods and science were closely guarded, passed down from a select few to another generation of those talented enough to be deemed worthy.
This age is gone.
A myriad of information on all aspects of beer is now available to anyone. With all of these resources – books, articles, online forums, blogs, podcasts – anyone can learn to make world-class beer if they have the motivation to do so. The old-world secrecy surrounding brewing techniques has essentially become obsolete. Yet some brewers still operate under the pretense that they’d be foolish to provide one of their own recipes or techniques to someone else. This bugs me.
For the most part, there is a great sense of community within both home and craft brewing, and the tendency toward group-mindedness this sense fosters has allowed American beer to become what it is today. Without the sharing of ideas between American brewers, our beer simply wouldn’t have come as far as it has. The creativity that drives so many brewers stateside is quite rare in the rest of the world, and it is speaks directly to the power of open sourcing. So, it really hits a nerve in me when a brewer doesn’t want to be part of helping craft beer as a whole grow.
I just don’t understand what these types of brewers are afraid of. As I see it, there are two basic types of people who want to make beer: those with genuine motivation, and those without. Those with that true drive want to make someone they can call their own. They respect brewing as both an art and a science, and understand the immense research and repetition it takes to make truly excellent beer. Those without it might just see brewing as a fun hobby or think there’s a shortcut to making beer in the same vein as their favorite commercial products (trust me, I’ve been there). If a skilled brewer provides any type of beer-related information to someone with that kind of motivation, they’ll just use it as a tool to continue to better their own skills and philosophy. If that information is provided to one without the drive, they’ll inevitably just produce a poor replication of the recipe and leave it at that. This difference in outcome stems entirely from the fact that, unlike the driven brewer, the unmotivated brewer hasn’t done his homework. At the end of the day, the only brewers skilled enough to actually recreate a recipe successfully have no interest in adopting it as their own. They’re far too focused on making a recipe that’s even better, and making craft beer itself stronger in the process.
That’s a really beautiful thing. There’s no room for fear in the presence of beauty.
To avoid any indication of hypocrisy, here’s the latest version of my Resurgam recipe. If you’re ever curious about any of our recipes, process, etc., PLEASE, just ask!