You can always go downtown: Visiting the breweries


Maddy Wycoff, Lamp writer

The atmosphere at a brewery is like no other. At the breweries in Downtown Springfield, customers can drink craft beer, see a live band and spend time with friends all while supporting local business. Obed and Isaac’s, Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. and Anvil and Forge are staples in Downtown Springfield. All three give entertainment and a sense of welcomeness to their community. 

Obed and Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery, lovingly referred to by locals as “Obed’s”, opened almost 10 years ago in Downtown Springfield. Obed and Isaac’s is family owned and located in a historic building. As the first microbrewery in Downtown Springfield, Obed’s is a favorite of many Springfield natives. 

“There is a shared experience with owners, brewers and patrons,” said Jay Shanle, a corporate administrator at Obed and Isaac’s. “Breweries provide a different, more social environment.” 

Buzz Bomb Brewing Co., which opened four years ago, began when main brewer Bill Larson started brewing mead at home. After switching over to beer, Larson’s homebrewing grew. He contacted his three lifelong best friends and proposed the idea of them running a business together. 

The group started looking and finally found a space in Downtown Springfield. The friends and now business partners gutted the building and built from scratch, which included oxidized copper countertops, old wood tables, and pipe lighting all handmade by them.  

Devin Larson, a bartender and son of Bill Larson, discussed the care put into the brewery. Larson said Buzz Bomb was made to look like the breweries and bars of Chicago. The first floor is a tap room with plenty of standing space, and the second floor is a lounge with space for relaxing.

“A lot of craft went into this,” Larson said. 

Devin Larson of Buzz Bomb said breweries are special because “Craft beer is culinary, it is art, and there are so many things that go into it.”  

He continued, “They facilitate a really good community and dynamic.” 

The Anvil and Forge Brewing and Distilling Company opened three years ago after the Zerkle brothers decided to make their love for good beer and local business into an environment all their own. Anvil and Forge, also located in Downtown Springfield, is owned by proud Springfield natives. 

At Anvil and Forge, bartender Leah Guffey said breweries provide an opportunity for people to showcase their craft.  

Guffey also noted that each local brewery is different.

“We all have our own atmosphere and environment,” she said. “We pride ourselves on that. You’re going to come in here and get a little bit different experience than you are at the other breweries.” 

Local breweries also create a sense of community. 

Amanda Taylor is a waitress who has been at Obed’s for nine and a half years. Taylor said what she loves about the brewery is the close, family atmosphere.  

She added, “A lot of us here are tight knit and the majority of us [employees] have been here a long time.” 

Another waiter at Obed’s, Shane Hopper, loves working in such a casual environment. Hopper said many people are trying to support local business and their community, which is a reason customers enjoy Obed’s.  

He added, “When you go to a microbrewery, you know it’s a mom-and-pop place.” 

These local breweries have been great for Downtown Springfield.  

“Brewers tend to work together,” Shanle said. “In Springfield it’s not about competition.” 

He also said at Obed’s customers share an experience that draws them downtown. Shanle described the experience as a “bastion of the old way.” 

Devin Larson said Buzz Bomb gets a lot of customers that bar hop and specifically go to breweries downtown. 

Leah Guffey at Anvil and Forge said, “[The owners are] doing their best to help revitalize downtown Springfield and offer something for people to do in Springfield.” 

Each brewery hosts events that get locals involved Downtown. 

Obed and Isaac’s 10th anniversary is Feb. 12. Every anniversary Obed’s invites other Illinois breweries and each brings a special beer. Jay Shanle said the beer community really enjoys it. 

Obed’s also has live music often, a beer garden so customers can enjoy the outdoors and they offer tours of the brewery on the first Saturday of every month. 

Buzz Bomb always has events going on. Devin Larson said, “we have a lot of crazy events,” including trivia, board game nights, art shows, live music and poetry. They also have an events page on Facebook that they update frequently. 

Anvil and Forge will have lots of live music this December, they are open during the downtown holiday walks, and their tap room is available to rent for events. They also work with Downtown Springfield, Inc. for events. 

The community created by Downtown Springfield breweries shows everyone they are welcome. Each brewery is a friendly place that many love to visit again and again. The breweries in Downtown Springfield create and experience that brings people together and bonds them.


To discover more about each brewery: 

Obed and Isaac’s is located at 500 S Sixth Street. They can be found on their website at and on Facebook and Instagram at obedandisaacs. 

Buzz Bomb is located at 406 E Adams Street. They can be found on their website at, on Facebook and Twitter at buzzbombbrewingco and on Instagram at buzzbombbrewing. 

Anvil and Forge is located at 619 E Washington Street. They can be found on their website at, on Facebook at AnvilandForgeBrewery and on Instagram at anvil_and_forge.