I want to come out straight up.....the only thing that the Catholic Church and I agree on is the issue of cloning. I don't much wager into the genetic kind (that ethics and religion is concerned about), but the idea of trying to make an exact copy of a commercial beer leaves me colder than a bud in the back of my fridge.
I would no more want to clone a commercial beer than make an exact copy of me. Sure, there are beers that I heart....and wish that I came up with....but while I would want to understand their mechanics, I would never seek to copy them....I would instead try to surpass them for my own tastes.
I listen to the occasional "Can You Brew It" on the Brewing Network....when the beer interests me. I like to know from them what makes a beer tick. I might use a technique or two someday to introduce a particular aspect of the beer into one of my own, but I can never see brewing to copy. I have used a recipe or two as inspiration....(only one recipe have I even come close to copying) or a basis....but I don't think I have compared it side by side (as cloning's goal is).....I figure, if it is that good, it is worth buying. I am trying to make something unique and perfect for me....selfish, I know. If a brewer has done this already, he deserves my money.