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Forge Brewhouse set to open DeKalb location

DeKALB – JD Heinrich has always thought of DeKalb-Sycamore as one big community.

So, the Sycamore-based Forge Brewhouse owner decided to branch out and open another location in DeKalb. The taproom is set to open Saturday at 216 N. Sixth St.

“It’s about the local place feel,” he said.

The new taproom and production facility will feature at least 11 beers on tap, along with its homemade root beer. Heinrich has plans to make space for at least two or three more tanks. Forge has multiple styles on tap, including Belgian, American and German styles of beer.

Customers can expect a new beer, Electricity – a New England style IPA – to be released during the grand opening Saturday.

“(New England style IPAs) are a controversial style,” Heinrich said. “The public loves them and brewers hate them. But we take pride in serving it. There are so many flavors involved. It’s not a bitter IPA. It’s like a juicy IPA. It’s very easy to drink. Our normal IPA will use 2.5 [pounds of] hops; this one uses 4 pounds of hops for all the aroma and flavor.”

Heinrich, a Sycamore resident, opened up The Forge Brewhouse at 1330 E. State St. in Sycamore in June 2015. Last year, he knew the business had outgrown its space and he wanted to expand, but didn’t know where to stretch its operations.

He explored options in Hampshire, Elburn and Genoa before realizing DeKalb was the perfect fit.

Unlike the original brewhouse, which is set to move in a few weeks to 327 W. State St. in Sycamore, the DeKalb location won’t serve food.

Heinrich encourages customers to bring in their own food or have food delivered. He also plans on inviting food trucks to the area when the weather gets warmer.

“There are no limitations with food,” he said. “We want our customers to enjoy their time here. ... We’re extremely excited. It’s a huge weight off our shoulders to finally open [the DeKalb location]. We want the best for everyone involved.”

Forge Brewhouse head brewer John Sanderson will be in charge of most operations at the new DeKalb taphouse. Heinrich called Sanderson a craft-beer geek who is full of knowledge.

“The new taphouse is going to allow us to showcase how well we can make beer and how well we can expand our business,” said Sanderson, a graduate of Northern Illinois University. “We’re going to do some unique things with our beer. The new role will give me more responsibility within the company and allow me to grow as a manager and a brewer.

“Let’s hope the city of DeKalb can run us out of beer,” he said.

All of the construction at the DeKalb location is completed, according to Heinrich. He added the brewhouse is looking for ways to add life into the taproom.

“We still want to put a dart board up or something like that,” he said. “We have many thoughts of what we can do. We want to make this an interesting place for people to come to.”

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