If you're a homebrewer, you had to start somewhere. Me, I started at Bill Jusino's house with Andy, petrified that my parents' warnings to be careful about meeting strangers from the Internet were going to come true and that I'd wind up chopped up in the Coleman cooler mash tun I had seen sitting on the front step. Luckily, Andy and Bill haven't killed me (yet), and instead I got to see the fascinating process of brewing beer at home. I quickly ran out and grabbed Charlie Papazian's The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and read it cover to cover and ordered some equipment from Northern Brewer.

Papazian's bible is a starting point for many, as is John Palmer's How to Brew. Countless homebrewers have started with each and gotten hooked, many eventually winding up in the HomebrewTalk forums talking about how to replicate Cantillon's Lou Pepe Kriek.

There are a lot of resources out there for learning how to homebrew. Books, magazines, blogs, websites, mailbags, live demos, group brew days, newsletters, smoke signals, et al ad nauseum.

Recently we got an email about a DVD/video series called Beginning Homebrew. The Beginning Homebrew website has an infographic, an e-book, and a DVD, but for the month of May, in honor of the National Homebrew Competition, you can stream the DVD for free (normally it's $19.95 for the package of DVD plus e-book) via a series of embedded videos on the website.

Beginning Homebrew can't replace either of the books I mentioned above. In terms of detail and scientific explanations, it falls short of the seminal works in homebrew pedagogy, but it does have some strengths, chief of which is that you can see the process happen from start to finish; this leaves nothing to the imagination for the all-too-often nervous novice homebrewer. Some of the pros and cons of the product are discussed below in case you or someone you know wants to check out Beginning Homebrew.

Pros:

Cons:

Some of the techniques and advice used are problematic. Consider:

So there are strengths and weaknesses, but for the month of May, there is also opportunity. Where you would normally have to pay a fee, the folks at Beginning Homebrew are now offering their product for free. So if you or someone you know (or if you're Gotye, someone that you used to know) is looking to get into the world of homebrewing, send them this way, but also send them another resource or two. Combined, between seeing and reading what to do, they'll probably end up with a solid product.