Everybody learns differently. I’m the type of guy that when I want to do something, I look it up on the web, read about it, then go try to do it myself.
That’s basically what I did with homebrewing. I’m having a blast making my own beer and, without buying in bulk, I’m drinking ultra-high quality beer for between 40 and 50 cents a bottle (excluding the cost of my time). Inexpensive, high-quality beer is a huge benefit.
Homebrewing is also appealing to me because of the wholesomeness of the ingredients and the reduced bottle and can waste. When I make an all-grain batch (my preference), I put in fresh grain, water, natural hops, natural irish moss, a bit of priming sugar, and yeast. That’s it. I know exactly what’s in my beer and I know the quality of the entire process. I have to say I suspect the giant global beer conglomerates cut some corners with their brewing and put some extra, less than natural ingredients in to save money.
So the number one resource I used to learn about homebrewing (and continue to use with every brew) is Don Osborn’s excellent homebrewing log. As you’ll find, Don has built most of the equipment he uses himself. I’ve built much of my own following Don’s examples and tweaking as necessary. Don has great step-by-step instructions with pictures. Don also has links to more advanced resources like John Palmer’s How to Brew. Palmer goes way deep into the chemistry and biology of what’s happening during brewing. I find that level of detail interesting, but in general, it’s way more than anyone needs to know to start brewing.
IMHO 95% of successful brewing is cleaning. Everything else will workout OK — even if you make major mistakes — as long as you are relentlessly sanitary.
And lastly, for those of you in Metro Atlanta, I get my brewing supplies at Beer Necessities in Roswell. They’ve been very helpful in answering questions and helping me get started.