My 2c...as a new brewer who started about 2 months ago, I found two suppliers of immense help. One was my local home brew supply house (well, "local" is relative - it's about 45 miles away). It is Home Brew Headquarters in Richardson, TX. FYI, they have mail order via the web (www.homebrewhq.com
) and their owner (Kelly) and his guys are extremely helpful and talked to me for a LONG time to walk me through everything. He also participates in our local (north Texas) brewing club. I recommend joining something like that - great people, fun, informative!
Someone else mentioned www.midwestsupplies.com
, and I also like them. They are also very helpful - get their number from their website and call them for lots of very useful advice, even with questions when you're not sure of something about a batch. Midwest also has a number of clone kits. Most homebrew stores, like mine, will gladly look up a clone recipe for you and give you the proper ingredients.
Last, and also mentioned earlier: read Palmer's site, and read Joy Of Homebrewing by Papazian (spelling?). When my local store said Papazian's book was a must-buy, I was a little skeptical. I was wrong. It has a lot of great background. Even if you want to stick with simple brewing, it presents some of the science of brewing in understandable terms, has good background on the different beer types, and a fair number of recipes.
Final 2c (so that makes 4c total, I guess
) - take Papazian's advice to heart and relax. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to matters of the kitchen, and not knowing everything there was to know about brewing freaked me out. There are TONS of great advice-givers here and elsewhere, and if you are thorough (not obsessive!) about sanitizing, use good (non-chlorinated, sanitary, good tasting) water, fresh ingredients and keep fermentation temperatures in a decent range (60-75 for ales, closer to 65 is ideal), you will get a beer that you enjoy sharing with friends, the ultimate signal of success in the kitchen.
Or garage. Or shed. Or wherever your spouse tells you to do your brewing!