Scratch's Hours 2022
Friday - Sunday
12 PM - 8 PM
Orders are available for pick up on weekdays by appointment only. Visit our STORE page to order and call or email to arrange a time to come by.
Oktoberfest Saturdays! Join us for cask beers, German food and hand made steins from noon to 8 every Saturday in October!
southern illinois microbrewery & farm
open for on-site enjoyment Fri-Sun. See our hours.
email@example.com cash only
we do not allow buses. parties of 12 or more please call ahead
Scratch Brewing Company is a farmhouse brewery located five miles from the Shawnee National Forest in Ava, Illinois. Named one of the top four breweries for foraged beer by Outside Magazine, and one of the most beautiful places to drink beer in the world by All About Beer Magazine, Scratch Brewing Company focuses on farmhouse beers and other styles brewed with home grown and locally farmed and foraged ingredients. The brewery has an ever rotating selection of styles enhanced by the innovative addition of local ingredients, such as nettle, elderberry, ginger, dandelion, maple sap, hickory, lavender, juniper, and chanterelle mushrooms.
Owners Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon create beer whose aim is to showcase the “terroir” of Southern Illinois. For their efforts, they were nominated for a 2020 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer. Their book, The Homebrewers Alamanac, has become an indispensible guide to those seeking more information on brewing with native plants. Beer Advocate said that its "stunning photography makes this book a high-end addition to your homebrew library."
Scratch bottles special release offerings and distributes beer to select bars and liquor stores in Illinois and in half a dozen other states. The brewery also supports local artists and artisans, commissioning original ceramics, t-shirts, posters, bottle openers, and other merchandise. In 2017 it opened the Serpent Room, a collaborative project with artist Brett Douglas Hunter, who brought the room to life with his original floor-to-ceiling art and sculptures. The Serpent Room is available to rent for private events and for non-profits; more information is available below.
Draft List for Weekend of September 30 - October 2
*we are cash only!* *all prices include tax* try a flight of 4 for $12
fire-brewed marzen ($5/$15 growler fills)
classic fest bier-style oktoberfest lager brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle. This crisp and easy-drinking fall beer gets extra caramel caramelization from the direct heat of the kettle and a long lagering time, brewed in March and aged until the fall. 6.6% abv
dry-hopped sassafras (6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
light sour beer brewed with sassafras leaves from our property and dry-hopped with Illinois-grown Mackinac hops. dry and lightly tart with refreshing notes of lemongrass, ginger, passion fruit, and pineapple. 4.1% abv
barrel-aged strawberry ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles)
sour beer aged in a red wine barrel. strawberries were added early in the brewing process and fermented with our wild house culture. 6.7% abv
foeder grapevine ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
farmhouse ale brewed with wild grapevines and fermented with our house culture, then aged for a year in an oak foeder. lightly tart with notes of oak, peaches, and white grape, this beer is similar to an oak-aged sauvignon blanc. 5.9% abv
file farmhouse ale ($5/$15 growler fills)
saison-style ale brewed with sassafras leaves and fermented with our house culture. light, citrusy, and refreshing with notes of passion fruit and lemongrass. 4.7% abv
dry-hopped persimmon farmhouse ale ($6 goblet/$17 growler fills)
intensely tropical farmhouse ale made with native persimmons and Illinois-grown Mackinac hops. Pineapple and citrus on the nose with a crisp, bone-dry finish. 6.9% abv
lemongrass sour ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
sour beer brewed with lemongrass from our garden and fermented with our wild house culture. notes of apple, and pear with a refreshing lemony finish. 4.2% abv
basil ale ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
one of our all-time classics! this beer's aroma comes from basil rather than hops: brewed with lemon basil, sweet basil, and tulsi basil from our garden; honey from our friends at Royal bee in Steelville, grain from Sugar Creek Malt; and fermented with our house culture. Bright basil and hop-like aroma that tastes fresh now but stands up well to aging. 6.8% abv
wet-hopped saison ($5 goblet/$15/growler)
light, bright farmhouse ale. Cascade and Chinook hops from our garden, harvested and added fresh to boiling wort. fermented with our wild house culture. 4.8% abv
non-alcoholic cold brew coffee from dark matter ($3) • tulsi basil soda ($3)
Cold bottles available for here and all bottles available at cellar temp to-g0
foeder-aged bark ($10)
amber ale brewed with wild cherry, hickory, and oak bark, then aged in oak foeders from our friends at Foeder Crafters in Missouri. malty backbone with flavors of stone fruit, incense, and baking spice and a smooth, oaky finish. 6.9% abv • 355 ml
dandelion ginger tonic ($15)
bottle-conditioned sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with dandelions, carrot tops, clover, and ginger from our garden. fermented with our wild house culture.
4.4% abv • 500 ml
sour ale brewed with toasted house-made hearth bread mashed overnight. the bread liquor is then steeped with grains, sparged, boiled, and fermented with our sourdough culture. a surprisingly refreshing beer that is tart and bready, and reminiscent of a gose from the small addition of salt in the bread. 3.1.% abv • 500 ml
golden-amber lager brewed with toasted sycamore bark. a smooth and bready malt bill is complemented by notes of apple-cinnamon from the bark. 7.0% abv • 750 ml
basil IPA ($17)
one of our all-time classics! this beer's aroma comes from basil rather than hops: brewed with lemon basil, sweet basil, and tulsi basil from our garden; honey from our friends at Royal bee in Steelville, grain from Sugar Creek Malt; and fermented with our house culture. Bright basil and hop-like aroma that tastes fresh now but stands up well to aging. 6.8% abv • 750 ml
wild cherry biere de garde ($20)
copper-colored French-style farmhouse beer brewed with wild cherry bark from our property. malty with a crisp finish, with notes of cherry soda, incense, and baking spices. 7.0% abv • 750 ml
*Pizzas available starting at 4:00 on Fridays and Noon on Saturday and Sunday
Our food is almost entirely locally sourced. Bread is made entirely with local flour from Janie’s Mill in Ashkum, Illinois, fermented with our sourdough culture, and baked in our wood-fired brick oven. Pizza dough is made with King Arthur flour. Produce is foraged on our land, grown on property managed by our farmers Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, or purchased from local farmers. Goat cheese is from Baetje Farms, located outside Ste. Genevieve, Missouri; and sausage for pizzas is Big Muddy Hogs.
Wood-Fired Oven Pizza (approximately 12 inches)
Our pizzas are stretched lovingly by hand. Please allow 20 minutes or longer if we are busy.
Heirloom Tomato ($14)
Topped with sliced heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden, olive oil and mozzarella
Pepper & Sausage ($15)
Topped with freshly sliced peppers and rosemary from our garden, sausage from Wenneman's, and chevre goat cheese from Baetje Farms.
Bloomsdale Cheese Platter ($18)
One of the world’s finest goat cheeses is made at Baetje farms, just over the river in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. A gold medal winner, chosen as one of the top 16 cheeses in the world at the world cheese awards, the pyramid-shaped Bloomsdale is a mold-ripened cheese rolled in a mixture of ash and salt. As the cheese ages it becomes softer and creamier around the rind and takes on blue cheese flavor compounds. Served with scratch’s house-made bread.
Picnic Plate ($20)
Feeds 2 people or 4 as an appetizer. Assorted foods from our garden and breads made with Illinois flour from Janie’s Mill. All of the sides were prepared in our kitchen with our own garden-grown produce. This week we have:
Wedges of House-Made Bread (Wheat and Rye)
Cow's milk cheese from Grison Creamery
Our book on brewing with farmed and foraged ingredients is available at all fine booksellers!
The book features 36 plants that add unique character to your beer, which you can grow in your garden, gather from your yard and other wild spaces, or buy from farmer's markets. Chapters focus on individual plants with information about how each has been used historically in food, medicine, and drink, and how we've used them here at Scratch. Recipes are included in each chapter, along with beautiful photographs by our resident photographer, Aaron Kleidon.
The Homebrewer's Almanac has been featured in Brew Your Own magazine, Craft Beer & Brewing, and was a top choice in Imbibe Magazine and Zymurgy's holiday gift guides. Beer Advocate magazine says "Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon, and Ryan Tockstein share their successes in this guidebook to homebrewing with foraged ingredients... Kleidon's stunning photography makes this book a high-end addition to your homebrew library."
You can buy a copy of The Homebrewer's Almanac on our online shop, which comes signed by authors Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon. You can also find the book at your local bookseller or on:
264 Thompson Rd
Ava, IL 62907
Due to our limited space and small parking lot we do NOT allow buses. Parties of 12 or more please call ahead.
Mon - Thurs: To-go only
growler and bottle sales by appointment. Please call the brewery at 618-426-1415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to come by
Friday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Saturday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Sunday: 12 PM - 8 PM
We are CASH ONLY and have an on-site ATM.
Below are the closest accommodations to Scratch. There is more camping, and more B&Bs, inns, and hotels in Carbondale and farther south in the Shawnee National Forest and along the Wine Trail.
Mudline Lodging in Ava
B&Bs, Inns, and AirBnB
Old Bank Studio in Ava
Renovated 1930s Farmhouse in Vergennes
Oxbow Bed & Breakfast in Pinckneyville
Historic Hull House Inn in Murphysboro
Lost Trail Cabins in Ava
RENT THE SERPENT ROOM
The Serpent Room is a manifestation of the creative energy of local artist Brett Douglas Hunter, featuring his original art and sculptures. The room is available to rent for business events, birthdays, receptions, and other moderately sized gatherings for people who want a private bartender and an intimate, colorful space to enjoy with close friends, family, or colleagues. We have room for seating for 50 people with a bar that can handle 4 different taps of Scratch beer. This is an extremely unique space that is unlike any other place you may have considered renting for your event.
Rates vary by season and by weekday or weekend rentals.
Please email or call the brewery (email@example.com) for more information on the space and on pricing.