On Brewing Experiments, a Dissenting View

Last week, I commented enthusiastically on Breakside's recent offering of five versions of a porter, each with one different adjunct. Vasilios Gletsos, MacTarnahan's brewer, added a comment I'd like to share.
I'm probably getting lost here at the end of the comments section, with all the excitement and all, but I wanted to suggest that this kind of thing happens at commercial breweries all the time, as part of the R&D process. It is just that the decision is typically made by the brewer before releasing the beer about which one is best.

Also, what is 'best' can also have different criteria. Like for yeast: how does it perform in the cellar?, flocculation, attenuation, longevity, and of course flavor profile, among many other questions.

We often trial different hops in our standard brews or quantites of spices, etc. What is unique here is that Ben is presenting the beers and letting the public decide for themselves. I would personally feel uncomfortable putting out a beer if I thought some other example worked better.
I have no doubt that Vasili speaks for lots and lots of commercial breweries here. A brewery is in the business of offering the very best product it can; beta versions may work for software, but not beer. Fair enough. I wouldn't expect to see a brewery's work as it's hammering out a new recipe (although Deschutes regularly releases in-development recipes to beer at their brewpubs).

What Breakside did is a little different. Ben used a recipe that was already excellent--it didn't occur to me to ask, but I assume he was pleased with it. With that recipe, he made four variants that used a single different ingredient. That's the kind of thing I'd like to see. Take MacTarnahan's for example. It's a beer made exclusively with Cascade hops. It would be absolutely fascinating to see the brewery do a few other versions that used different hops--everything else being identical (process, IBUs, etc.). It'll be a cold day in hell before they do it, but I'd love it. (Or, if you prefer, Mac's with different English and American ale strains.)

There's no right answer. One thing I've learned in talking with scores of brewers over the years is that they all have definite ideas about what they're doing--and these ideas are in no way identical. So I'll put Vasili in the "no" column. Any other takers?