One of my favorite things to do with friends (who don't brew) is to do ~3-5x 1 gallon batches. You can use the exact same malt, and add the same type of hops and have completely different tasting beer pending on how long you boil, or when you add your hops.
It's a life long hobby. It's expensive initially to buy some equipment (though you can find awesome groupon deals from Midwest or Northern Brewer). But testing out new stuff, modifying and perfecting recipes is just all part of the wonder of brewing. That and it always leads to you drinking beer.