JD – Owner/Brewer
For over 30 years, JD has developed a skill that has put him among the top in his craft. After a career in the rodeo he began shoeing horses and became one of the best farriers in the country. He’s shod award winning horses for the best trainers in the world. His dedication to hammering out the perfect fit for each horse is the same dedication that now creates the best beers in the area.
You could say Forge Brewhouse began when JD gave up drinking “yellow fizzy stuff”, American lagers made to be consumed by the dozen, and took a ten year hiatus from beer. Or you could say the seed was planted with the first sip of home-brewed Porter which broke his fast and blew his mind with its full flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel unlike anything he’d had before.
From that day, JD’s fascination with craft beer has become a passion. He became enamored with the history, the art, and the social dynamics of brewing excellent beer. Always respectful of pedigree, but also curious enough to experiment, JD has crafted a number of classic yet intriguing recipes.
John – Head Brewer
From early on John was always the kid taking things apart, seeing how it works, and then putting it back together. After high school it only made sense the best fit was to pursue Engineering. Appreciating staying local, John looked at Northern Illinois University and soon after enrolled in their Mechanical Engineering program.
College started with drinking cheap beer as that was what was affordable and what everyone else was drinking. It wasn’t until he had his first sip of an IPA at a friend’s house that changed everything he knew about beer. So many different flavors and complexity came with that beer, and it brought out John’s curiosity to learn more. Over the remaining years he would buy 6 packs of different styles to try out and examine.
During his last semester in college, a good friend asked if he wanted to watch and learn how to make beer, and of course he said yes. Soon after, he started reading beer books and learning as much as he could, to learn how to improve his brewing techniques. The passion was started. John is now able to design any beer to match any flavor profile including Forge’s food cuisine; the sky’s the limit.
Chris – Head Chef
When Chris was young he always loved cooking. Often watching his father make dinner and baking with his grandmother. Moving often gave him a love for new ideas, especially in regard to food. One memory that shaped his love of pizza was an all-day food network special about pizza; this is where he learned how to toss dough. This skill became unexpectedly useful when his family opened a pizza place of their own.
From there he went on to receive formal training at Elgin Community College from the culinary department. That experience has helped refine and expand his culinary capabilities. Food has always been a love of his and making it better and better each time. The creative freedom of the weekly paried pizzas is one of Chris’s most enjoyable parts of working at Forge Brewhouse.
Going forward Chris wants to continue to develop, refine and expand what Forge Brewhouse represents in the kitchen; as well as bringing the community together by experiencing great food, great beer and great memories.