Champaign-Urbana has a host of experts on home brewing. Knowledge abounds in groups like B.U.Z.Z., retailers like Friar Tuck and Leisure Times, and right here at Hop Politely. But where should a home brewer go for quick access to beer info?
Whenever a brew goes wrong and I enter panic mode, the internet is the first place I turn. There is a vast amount of home brewing knowledge available on the web, but I have found a few websites that are really top notch when it comes to content and community.
In no particular order ...
This is a website in the typical forum format, but the subject matter is far from the average, lewd not-safe-for-work post. Master home brewers are constantly posting recipes, discussing brewing techniques, and answering your questions. There is a solution to every home brewing issue on this site.
John Palmer's widely touted book on brewing, called How to Brew, is largely available for free on this website. Mr. Palmer covers plenty of subjects, ranging from your first brew to an all-grain brew. Truly informative and accessible, this is the best place to begin your research.
Shipping costs for ingredients and equipment can be high. I've found it's best to buy locally, or through a supplier that is relatively close. Brewers in C-U should check out prices on Midwest Supplies for their home brewing needs. Always make sure you can buy from a local supplier first, but with the hop shortage it is often necessary to outsource.
This is another great place to get your ingredients. I have heard this supplier touted above all others by many home brewers.
Tastings, reviews, articles, and a forum: Beer Advocate pretty much has it all. This site is great for finding out what others think of a beer you just tried. They keep detailed information on almost every commercial beer out there. If you are looking to expand your knowledge base, this is the place to do it.
If anyone feels I missed a major paragon of internet home brewing, please post a link in the comments.