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Forge Brewhouse owners plan for move into downtown Sycamore

Forge Brewhouse moves ahead in relocating to downtown Sycamore

SYCAMORE – James Heinrich said the extra elbowroom in Forge Brewhouse’s new building should be a refreshing change, as his goal is to triple the brewpub’s production in the next year.

“Instead of needing a little wooden dolly to move kegs, we’re going to need a forklift,” he said.

Moving downtown is not the only change in store for Forge Brewhouse. The owners also are planning to open a tap room in their off-site brewery, sell kegs of beer to other restaurants and add a lunch menu.

Heinrich, who co-owns Forge Brewhouse at 1330 E. State St. in Sycamore with his wife, Lisa Heinrich, said their goal is to have an off-site brewery up and running by the end of June and the new brewpub open Sept. 1.

Forge Brewhouse has been the only brewpub in Sycamore since the business opened in June 2015. It is known for serving a variety of unique craft beers and specialty pizzas.

The Heinrichs bought the downtown site at 327 W. State St. The space had been occupied by the now-closed Super $1 Store.

In January, the Sycamore City Council amended the city’s Class H liquor license to allow a microbrewery to sell its own beer produced on- and off-site. Prairie State Winery was given the same permission for its wine in 2013.

James Heinrich said the architect finished the drawings for the new brewpub last week, and they are in the process of submitting their plans for permits. They should be ready to begin work next month, he said.

He said they are close to signing a lease for their off-site brewery in DeKalb. The brewery will have 2,200 square feet of space for brewing, compared with only 300 square feet for brewing in the current location.

All of Forge’s beer will be brewed in the off-site brewery. Heinrich said they also are changing their licensing so they can sell beer from their brewery to other restaurants.

“For over a year, we’ve been getting a lot of people asking us, pub owners, restaurant owners, if they could buy kegs of our beer,” he said.

The off-site brewery also will function as a “tap room” where people can come in and order craft beer during limited evening hours, Heinrich said.

With about 200 square feet of additional space in the new brewpub, Heinrich said Forge will maintain its size of about 84 seats while adding a private room for parties of 25 to 30 people.

Forge will be expanding its kitchen space as well.

The restaurant opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, but the extra downtown traffic could be cause to start opening up for lunch, Heinrich said.

He said Forge’s chef is looking into coming up with sandwiches and new specials to offer in addition to the restaurant’s specialty pizzas.

“Our pizzas are so good, we’re not getting rid of them,” Heinrich said.

He said they also might add a few more beer taps, but they wouldn’t be “going crazy” with it.

“We might go [from 10] to 15, just because there’s so many different beer styles, and it’s fun to make the different beers,” Heinrich said. “People are always asking for something different.”

He said some customers have expressed concerns about limited downtown parking; however, there are about 20 city parking spots behind the building that aren’t typically used during evening hours, and the new brewpub could have a rear entrance.

Heinrich said he is hoping business will pick up during the later night hours, when people walk around downtown Sycamore. At the current location, business tends to die down after about 10 p.m. certain nights while the downtown area still is bustling, he said.

PHOTOS: Forge Brewhouse on the move
to downtown Sycamore

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