Two minds are better than one and 2,000 minds are better than two. That’s the basic theory behind open sourcing a project: let everybody in on the development to create a better product. So, carry that theory over into the world of brewing and getting suggestions from your customers will ultimately make a better beer, right? That’s what Portland-based Widmer Brothers is banking on with their new beer, Opensourcery.
Widmer Brothers partnered with Mozilla, the non-profit software development company behind Firefox, an open sourced web browser, to create an open source IPA. First, the two created a Twitter survey with 16 questions that allowed users to provide feedback on style and ingredients. What hops should they use? How hazy should it be? What sort of malts? Widmer Brothers used that info to develop the original recipe for a tropical IPA called Opensourcery. Then they released the beer at their brewery and collected direct feedback from their customers. Then they tweaked the beer based on that feedback, and they’ll release that version and get more feedback…In theory, they’ll do that again and again and again in order to create a “continuous feedback loop,” according to Parker Penley, Widmer Brother’s head of innovation. Widmer will even continue to collect public input on the brew via QR code surveys, making various iterations and perfecting Opensourcery.
As if that direct “give and take” with customers wasn’t enough, Widmer Brothers and Firefox shared the recipe online. The idea is to let home brewers have the recipe, and let them tweak the shit out of it. The original recipe has 2 Row and pilsner malt as well as flaked oats, and then a hop bill that includes Comet, Idaho, Chinook, Azacca, Citra and Lemondrop.
We had the chance to try out the original recipe and can honestly say this ever-evolving beer is off to a great start. It pours a deep copper with a vaguely hazy complexion. The nose is muted, but the sip delivers immediate big hits of pineapple and tangerine. There’s some bitterness, a hell of a lot of zest, but also a creamy mouthfeel thanks to those flaked oats.
I’m excited to see where open sourcing takes this beer. If you want in on the action and want to make some adjustments at home, you can check out the full recipe here.