Brewhouse plans new local location

By Alexandria Isom

The owners of Forge Brewhouse are planning to open a production facility with a tasting room in DeKalb at 216 N. Sixth St.

Forge Brewhouse is moving from their current location at 1330 E. State St. to downtown Sycamore and planning to open an off-site brewery in DeKalb. James Heinrich, who co-owns Forge Brewhouse with his wife Lisa Heinrich, said the location in DeKalb is opening because the new location will not have room for a production site.

“It just made sense for us to do the production in one of the neighboring towns,” James said. “By being in a neighboring town instead of our own town, we can also do a tap room to get our face out in the public more.”

The DeKalb City Council granted a liquor production license to the Forge Brewhouse during a Monday meeting. The goal is to have the off-site brewery up and running by August before DeKalb Corn Fest, James said.

James said the new location in DeKalb will offer a “tap room” for people to come and order craft beers during evening hours. The tap room will have 10 taps with different flavors and styles. The owners are planning to explore the idea of bringing food trucks on Friday and Saturday nights and expanding into a full service brewpub within a few years.

The property is 7,500 square feet. The brewhouse will occupy 2,500 square feet of the space with the intended goal to use the remaining space for the restaurant similar to the Sycamore location.

The Forge Brewhouse location in Sycamore serves craft beers, brick oven pizzas and sliders.

Jason Michnick, DeKalb economic development planner, said he hopes this business will add new life to the downtown area.

“We’re excited, and we think we are building momentum in the downtown area,” Michnick said. “We would really like to see the downtown area turn around and become a more popular place for students to come.”

Ryan Bielman, senior mechanical engineering major, said he thinks the new brewhouse will help students to think about going to the downtown area more.

“I think that would be an awesome business to have in downtown DeKalb,” Bielman said. “I think it is pretty dead, and it needs something that will attract people from the school.”

Alderpersons also authorized an architectural improvement program for the Forge BrewHouse that provides a $17,000 grant to expedite the process and improve the aesthetic appearance of the building.

“The property that they are going into use to be an auto parts store, so they had to do some work to the exterior of the building and the interior of the building,” Michnick said.

James said he is looking forward to working with DeKalb because there are a lot of opportunities to get involved with the community by doing tourist and promotion activities such as Corn Fest or working with events in the Convocation Center.