Cory at Boing has linked us all to a recipe for a beer that is claiming it is licenced under creative commons license. The beer is called Vores Øl or "Our Beer." The odd thing about this - and an example of the wacky thinking about copyright being spouted at Boing - is that a beer recipe is not really copyrighted or copyrightable. Recipes, as sets of instructions rather than the expression of the instruction or "a work", are not really property. Only as a fixed literary published work would the expression of the recipe be potentially protected. Has Boing been sucked in?
One of the reasons we do not know much about the manufacture of porter in, say, 1810 is that breweries protect their recipe book archives as trade secrets and hide them from public view. If they did not the information would not be protected - because they are not subject to intellectual property law. They are merely ideas, not expressions, and an idea is not copyrightable. They are exclusive through secrecy rather than property. You know this because you can mix up much of the expression of a recipe, reorder the ingredients and twig the process and get the same result. Some technical processes relating to brewing that are patentable, like Labatt and its ice beer, but that is different. But one of the joys of homebrewing is the realization you can maintain a yeast strain cultivated from a favourite beer, tap into your well, grow and malt your grain and pick your own hops. Beer is literally free if you are free enough to make it.
For all the hype about the loss of freedom due to strict copyright law enforcement, is this a knee-jerk reaction making that which is free actually less free by implying that the creative commons applies to the actual common property of us all? True open source is the stuff we all have access to and can do simply out of human dignity. Beer making is one of those things.