Might depend on the brewery. Do u know any of the brewers from taking a tour or whatever?
Im not quite sure they'd be willing to just hand over the recipe, u might be better off explaining that ur looking to make something similar to what they brew and ask about particular ingredients instead. Have a back and forth conversation talking about ingredients and brewing processes. Might be a bit more well received if ya know what I mean.
They can certainly be protective over their recipes. Your best bet is to befriend them. Go down and talk with them. Definitely bring some homebrew with you to share and ask for feedback on. Explain that you like beer ABC and would love to make something along those lines. Ask for some pointers if they can't give you the recipe. Most brewers would help in that situation.
I told Odell that their IPA was one of my favorite beers (not a lie) and that I was a home brewer. I asked them to share as much about it as they felt comfortable and they told me what grains and hops they used, but that is about it. I thought it was pretty cool of them though.
My advice would be to be respectful and don't push it too much.
Yeah, totally depends on the brewery. I have sent requests and recieved nothing in return. It also sometimes depends on the beer. For instance, Unita did two Can You Brew It shows and gave out recipes, but I have been unable to get them to divulge any info regarding Hopnotch. Other breweries will help homebrew shops create clones of their beer (see Northern Brewer with Surly, Lakefront, etc.).
Some breweries will offer up their recipes to homebrewers. I emailed Jamil requesting a Heretic recipe and he responded within a few days. I think he is correct when he says that it doesn't matter if a brewery gives out recipes because there is far more to brewing than a recipe.
That being said, if a brewery does not want to give out information, it is their right to do so. Ask politely and see if they respond.
I've had very limited success with this myself. I've asked a few breweries ranging from little local brewpubs to bigger breweries for tips on making something similar to their beers and they just don't want to share much at all.
I can't blame them, because these recipes and techniques are how they make money. But it kind of irks me that some places don't even respond at all or respond with a somewhat rude reply. Also, I make sure breweries that do share information get a LOT of extra business from my friends and I.
In the end, you're further ahead just searching the web for clone recipes by other homebrewers.
I have success with asking very specific questions. For example, we have a local black IPA that I really like. I emailed the brewer asking for details on the yeast strain and he responded with the stain (WLP 530, BTW). You can strike up a dialog from there if you want to.
My advice would be to have a targeted question about some characteristic of the beer vs. "give me your recipe".