Brewing 101 will teach you the 4 basic ingredients of beer: barley, water, hops, and yeast. Being a Great Lakes State, one large reason for the great success of Michigan breweries is certainly a tremendous abundance of one of the key brewing ingredients: water. In recent years Michigan-grown hops have become quite a commodity as well, with many local breweries seeking out the freshest and best ingredients wherever they can be found. One essential ingredient in Michigan that is in the greatest demand: malt. Malt is the scientific process of altering grains, most often barley, to develop the enzymes that are required to turn starch into sugar. This process ultimately creates the alcohol found in craft beer and spirits.