When the whole world can brew beer in their basement it's hard to find the best of the best when it comes to craft beers.

While I would definitely take a US tour of the "more than 6,300 independent breweries operating across the nation", I'll let Thrillist do the hard work. As long as you believe tasting every beer and deciding on the most "Essential American Breweries of 2019" qualifies as hard work.

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it and while Thrillist named Three Floyds in Indiana and Bell's Brewery in Michigan as two nearby "essential" breweries there was one on the list that Rockford residents know well.

That is if you're willing to drive across the border to get your hands (or lips) on some because you won't see it in Illinois liquor stores or any other state for that matter.

New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus, Wisconsin was named as one of the 13 Essential American Breweries of 2019, and it deserves the honor.

To become one of the 50 largest craft breweries in the country while selling beer in only one state is no easy feat...That a fairly traditional brewery can maintain this level of not just relevance but excitement in 2019 is a testament to a simple fact: Pretty much everything New Glarus brews is just good.

Any time I cross the border I grab a case (or two) of Spotted Cow. It really is just that good.

Whether it's Spotted Cow, Moon Man, Two Women or one of their ridiculously popular seasonal brews, having a beer fridge stocked with New Glarus is a must for any beer fanatic.

Sweet Lenny is the brand manager of 97ZOK, Q98.5, and Operations Manager for Townsquare Media Rockford. Catch him afternoons 3 to 7 on 97ZOK. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and like his page on Facebook.

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