woot!It's one of those things that can pretty much be as easy or as difficult as you wanna make it, in terms of both equipment and time.
Most people get started in homebrewing with malt extract, which is something of a short cut. For that you just need a big pot, a bucket or carboy to ferment the brew in, bottles and caps and a capper. Extract is pretty much just a wort concentrate. It takes just a couple hours to boil it up with some hops. You can get a basic equipment kit for under $100 (example), then maybe $30-$50 for an ingredient kit (example). Links are to my local brew shop but there are tons of suppliers for this stuff.
All-grain brewing is the more traditional process, starting from scratch with malted barley. You need quite a bit more equipment to make your own wort... a mill (for grinding the grain), bigger kettle, a mash tun (for holding the mash at certain temperatures for 1-2hrs), various buckets, etc. From start to finish it takes me around 7-8hrs, not including clean-up, so it's pretty much a full day.
I'd say it's split roughly 50/50 between people who do extract versus those who do all-grain. I'm kind of a geek for these kinds of things so I started right out with all-grain and taught myself as I went. But lots of people like the convenience of extract and I've had a lot of awesome beers that were made that way.
Either way, once you have the wort the process from that point forward is the same. Then you just let it cool to room temperature (or use a chiller if you have one), transfer it to the fermenter (bucket or carboy) and add some yeast. A normal-size beer will ferment out in maybe 2 weeks, but a bigger beer might take a few months. Then you fill it into bottles and it'll naturally carbonate in ~2 weeks. Or if you have kegging equipment, you can force carbonate it and it'll be drinkable in 2-3 days.
And that's it! Like I said, there are a lot of ways in which it can be as easy or as complicated as you wanna make it. But it's pretty easy to get started for anyone who's interested. I love brewing, it's a ton of fun!
i had toured a brewery in Delaware, and all the tanks were huuuuuge. i had no idea what it would take to make brewski at home.
it's always cool to hear when ppl brew their own stuff. i bet the reward is totally worth all the work.