Digital IPA: The QR-Packing Open Source Beer


If you’re reading this site, we can safely assume you’re a supporter and user of open source software. If you’re a serious about it, you may even drive an open source car. But are you hardcore enough to drink open source beer?

Digital IPA

This India Pale Ale (IPA) is an aggressive wee beast that is dedicated to our friend Joseph Wood of Liberty Brewing and to all those hopheads who love drinking IPA day in, day out. Just as the term digital is all about zeroes and ones, the concept of IPA is all about malts and hops. Enjoy the rich golden malt backbone of Digital while you can… then feel it closing in as the fruity Motueka-grown hops dominate your palate and don’t ever fade away. IPA as it should be.

Yeastie Boys – Digital IPA

Digital IPA, from New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys brewers, is designed to keep the customer engaged in the beer making process. It features QR codes on the label which allow smartphone enabled drinkers to connect and talk about the beer on various social networking sites, and download the recipe so they can try to make their own version. Over time, variations of the recipe can make their way back upstream to the Yeastie Boys, improving the brew for everyone.

Over the last year, the recipe has already been tweaked, and a few homebrewers have submitted their own variations.

Open Source Beverages

Of course, the idea of sharing beer recipes with others is nothing new. Homebrewers have been doing that since, well, forever. The homebrewing community has always been very open to sharing, and for many people, swapping and improving recipes is what the whole thing is about. You can even get your hands on some open source soft drinks in the form of OpenCola.

But the innovative use of QR codes on the label does set Digital IPA apart, and is an excellent implementation of a technology which is still struggling somewhat to find its place in the world. If for nothing else, it’s worth tracking down just so you can keep a bottle that mentions open source:

This ale is open source – you may not be able to download the beer itself, but feel free to grab the recipe at

Digital IPA Label

About Tom Nardi

Tom is a Network Engineer with focus on GNU/Linux and open source software. He is a frequent submitter to "2600", and maintains a personal site of his projects and areas of research at: .
  • flubber

    Very cool, but they really should clarify the licence, ie choose the appropriate CC licence ….

  • Thirsty

    Generally speaking, recipes are not considered copyrightable works, so I don’t know how much good it would really do for them to assign a license to it. Pretty much untested waters as far as any of the free software/hardware licenses go.

  • blubber

    Ask and you shall receive:

    This recipe and beer name are available for use under the Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)”

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