First and foremost a brewer must gather a sugary liquid called a wört (pronounced wert or wort if you don't know what the little dots mean). This is done by a process called mashing in which “crushed” brewing grains (normally malted barley) are combined with hot water in a vessel called a mash tun. While the grains are "bathing", the starch contained within them turns to sugar and it's the sugar that feeds the yeast which produces the alcohol that make this beverage truly "adults only". Once conversion is complete, usually between 45 and 90 min give or take, the wört is drained and separated from the grain in a process called lautering. To maximize the sugar yield, the grains are sparged (rinsed) during the lautering process with hot water.
The (very) sweet wört is drained into a kettle and boiled for an hour (usually) or more. During the boil, hops are added at specific intervals to imbue the wört with bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Other adjuncts may be added along with the hops to further enhance the bouquet of the beer. Once the boil completes, the hot wört is cooled (via various, and sometimes creative, methods) and transferred to a fermentation vessel.
Special brewers yeast is added to the cooled wört and the fun begins. The little beasties (yeast that is) go to work and convert the sugars in the wört to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast will complete their task in as little as 1 week to as long as several months, depending on the strength (sugar content) of the wört (measured in degrees plato or specific gravity) and the type of yeast used.
After alcohol production is complete, it's time to add back in the fizz we've all come to know and love. Commercial breweries (and some home brewers) typically force carbonate their beers. Home brewers (and occasionally commercial brewers) usually opt for the natural method in which some pure sugar is added to the fermented beer just prior to bottling. The remaining yeast (now fewer in number) produce a bit more alcohol and C02 while in the bottle. While natural carbonation can take several more weeks before the beer is drinkable, it often brings with it flavors that don't occur with forced carbonation. Either way, the result is a beverage fit for a King (ahem and Queen).
Beer comes in cans, bottles, and kegs of varius sizes. It's best to buy beer that comes in dark brown bottles, cans, or kegs (if you have a kegerator). This is because UV light affects the taste of the beer giving it a somewhat "skunky" taste. Cans, kegs, and dark brown bottles block the UV better than green or clear bottles, although, there is a least one beer company that deliberately places their product in clear bottles or exposes their beer to UV light before canning.
There you have it, beer 101. Why not run down to your local beer store and pick up a 6 pk. or two and "crack" open a cold one!