Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

A Rocking Anniversary

A+Rocking+Anniversary

Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling marked five years of operation with a day of pizza and spirits, capped off by performances by what could be considered a dream lineup of Springfield’s most well-known musical bands. The business was started by brothers and partner Mike, John and Adam Zerkle who decided to turn their passion into their livelihood. Their DIY approach to pizza, beer and spirit-making was a perfect setting for the indie-music icons who graced the stage that evening. Dozens of people lined the sidewalks, jovially reminiscing. For some, the evening offered an opportunity to not only see some of the bands that have been longtime favorites, but also a reunion for many. Anvil & Forge celebrates five years of business operations. This event and celebration would have been unthinkable just two years ago when we established social distancing measures in March 2020 and challenges of COVID limited the size of indoor crowds.

Inside the venue, dozens of people made up a captive audience, standing shoulder to shoulder, focused on the bands playing on stage.  There were very few – if any – cell phones being held up as audience members tightly gripped their plastic cups while precisely swaying back and forth enough to feel the music without spilling or scuffing their neighbor’s Vans . There was a feeling of oneness within the crowd. Featuring music by The Gunga Dins, Ricky Marvel, Looming, and Park. Anvil & Forge celebrated five years of operations  by hosting an event that brought  many from near and far together.  While the subject matter of some of the songs could be a bit sad, the spirits within the walls of Anvil & Forge were high. Many hugs were shared, and kind words exchanged. These face-to-face interactions rippled throughout the audience and through the number of patrons gathered on the patio along the street, bringing many sentimental moments and rekindlings.

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As the business celebrated five years of operations, the bands on stage celebrated their unique musical formations and expressions of art. Park celebrated the 20-year anniversary of an album that represented an immense amount of heartbreak for the lead singer which resonated with fans from Springfield and around the country. The audience celebrated along with them at the top of their lungs to songs that were the soundtrack to many of their changing lives standing shoulder to shoulder with people they may not see until the next time Park takes the stage or who knows when.

Anvil & Forge hosts several events throughout the month such as Twin City Trivia and a bi-monthly open mic comedy show that is hosted by comedian Lance Cain. Their food is amazing, and they are wonderful hosts for private events, group gatherings, or to those who are just stopping by to relax. Here’s to another five years of homemade brews, delicious food – and the creatives that this venue hosts on a regular basis.


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