I am a beer fan. What can I say? It is a weakness. I think it tastes good and it is fun to drink. Beer can get expensive. A cost effective, fun way to drink beer is to cook it up yourself. I made a batch with a couple of friends last week for $20 each. That $20 will give us each a portion of 5 gallons of beer. Half of the $20 went to buying beer bottles (that came full, wink wink).
This was my first time making beer, but one of my buddies had the equipment, so all we had to do was go to the local home brew store and buy the ingredients. Our few hours of fun led to a one month wait while the beer ferments. I had the important job of putting in the yeast once the temperature dropped, and I was nervous that the yeast would die. It turned out okay though, and a closet in my basement smells like beer. Yum.
Something fun about this hobby is the reward. You can drink the beer or give it to friends as a gift. I doubt the three of us can put down five gallons before it goes bad, so we will probably make holiday gifts or something from what is leftover.
One time a man fell in love with Belgian beer, so he started to make it at home. He gave a lot of it away to friends as gifts, and they told him that it was so great he should go into business. Some years later, you can buy that beer all over the country. It is made by the New Belgium Brewery here in Colorado.
This is a hobby that can generate a small income if you do it right. If not, it is just fun. I found a good manual for making beer at home at SoYouWanna. If you are interested in making beer on your own, head to a local home brew store. The staff should be able to point you in the right direction to start.