Love seeing how everyone got into the craft!
Like many of you, my brewing history has more than one start.
My first start was in 1995 when my dad bought my wife (now ex) and me a homebrew kit - it was a bit of a dig at her, as she didn't like any beer other than Coors Light. The kit, from Liberty Malt Supply (Pike Brewing) came with Randy Moser's first book - I forget the title - but it's the one with all the forms and graphs. When I made my first batch of beer, I pretty much did everything wrong, and was rewarded with, well, crap. Infected, got worse over time, eventually poured it all out. Started over, got Charlie's book, and tried again. Started brewing decent extract/specialty grain beers, mostly the bolder styles - Russian Imperial Stout, Barleywine.
At the time I didn't have internet service, but did get the Home Brew Digest via my local BBS and Fidonet, and got more and more interested. Eventually joined a brew club, got more and more into it, finally went to all-grain, expanded my styles, started designing beers (thank you Ray Daniels), had my 3 tier system, corney kegs & CO2, an oxygen bottle, ProMash, fermentation temperature control. Loving life!
Then the divorce happened. 2007 was my last batch of my first go-round. Life got mondo crazy, sold off nearly all my brewing stuff, keeping just enough to make mead. Didn't make a single fermented beverage in 2008. Made meads in 2009, 2010, married my beautiful new wife who LOVES beer (and wine and mead), and she talked me into making a batch for an upcoming beer party we were having. That was 2011. At that point I built my built my boil keggle, and started making extract/grains, apfelwein, hard lemonade and wine while I started re-building my system, but with so many more resources to draw from (here, HBT, Brewing Network) I took my time and built my system gradually over a year and a half. Now I typically brew twice a month, 5-10 gallon batches, most of which I share with friends and neighbors, as I can't drink as much as I like to brew!