Het trevlyn13 -
Back to your question about cost of equipment. Walker is correct that going all-grain will definitely lower the cost per beer. But it's my understanding that the all-grain process is more complicated and more time consuming than extract brewing. If you're serious about getting into the hobby, I would recommend doing at least a few extract batches first just to get familiar with the basic brewing process before diving into all-grain. I've brewed several batches of extract and still learn something new every time. I'll get to all-grain some day but I want to get there gradually. I worry that if you jump into all-grain right off the bat you might become frustrated and disillusioned with the whole thing. You might not be doing it "for the art and craft" but you should at least have fun doing it.
If you buy an intermediate extract kit you'll be able to use most (or all) of that equipment still when you get to all grain - you'll just be adding more equipment to the process. So it's not like you have to scrap it and start from scratch. I bought an intermediate kit from Midwest Supplies (www.midwestsupplies.com
) along with 5 gal. brew kettle, some bottles, and a recipe kit for a little more than $200. (Remember, I live in BFE so shipping cost is substantial for me.)
But before you go out and buy this stuff you really should study up on the whole brewing process. There is a different thread on this forum that several people (including myself) have posted to about how much studying and prep we did before our first batches but there was still a lot we didn't know on first brew day.
Finally, I agree with drengel that you should try a 10% beer before you endeavor to brew it. Definitely an acquired taste . . .
My condolences on living in 3.2 Utah. I was in Colorado for my first time a few months ago and didn't know that you had to go to a liquor store to get beer that was above 3.2 (or a bottle of wine, for that matter). My wife and I walked into a grocery and found a little tiny cooler with about 3 different types of lager in it and finally a store clerk said it's all "three-two beer". Huh? Fortuneately I live in Oregon and the selection of microbrews available at the grocery store is pretty amazing - even in BFE.