Scratch's Hours 2023
Fri - Sun: 12 PM - 8 PM
You may arrange to pick up beer to go during the week by calling the brewery or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 December 8-10
*we are cash only!* *all prices include tax* try a flight of 4 for $12
cedar brown ale ($6 snifter/no growlers)
pub-style brown ale brewed with chocolate and munich malts, making for a full-bodied toasty complexity with a touch of juniper on the finish. 5.2% abv
hickory lager ($5 goblet/$15 growler fill)
rustic blonde lager beer brewed with toasted hickory bark. crisp and clean with a very light finish of toasted marshmallow and campfire smoke. 5.2% abv
wild grapevine saison ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
farmhouse ale brewed with wild grape leaves, green grapes and toasted vines. soft, spicy flavors with white grape character and an oak-like finish from the vines. 5.6% abv
stein beer ($6 snifter/no growler fills)
strong ale brewed by putting hot granite rocks into the mash and using them to heat the mash to a boil. the hot rocks caramelized the sugary grain making for a decoction-like step mash process. hops are added to the mash for some bitterness. the wort is then sparged and fermented without boiling. robust with high alcohol, a little caramelization and interesting malt complexity. 8.3% abv
session saison ($5 goblet/no growler fills)
low alcohol classic farmhouse ale. brewed with pilsner malt fermented with house culture. boiled for 2 hours over a wood fire. some might say this beer is a crispy crusher. 3.8% abv
basil ipa ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles)
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 Steeleville; 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. 6.7% abv
cherry bark stein ($6 snifter/no growler fills)
another stein-brewed beer where the hot granite rocks were used as the heat source for the boil instead of external heat. cherry and oak barks were used to flavor this dark beer, giving it an unusual sour, lightly smoky, and incense-like flavor profile. 4.7% abv
131 ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles)
this unique farmhouse ale is an imprint of its place and time. brewed with 131 different leaves, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fungi from the height of the growing season, it conveys a subtle earthiness and spice that is characteristic of our location in southern illinois. 5.3% abv
strawberry rhubarb ($6 snifter/no growler fills- we have bottles)
sour ale made with local strawberries and rhubarb fermented with our house culture. 5.5% abv
non-alcoholic coffee from dark matter ($5) • ginger beer ($4)
Cold bottles available for here and all bottles available at cellar temp to-g0
dandelion ginger tonic ($15)
bottle-conditioned sour beer brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with southern illinois-grown dandelion, ginger, carrot tops, and clover, and fermented with our wild house culture. 4.4% abv • 500 ml
honey beer ($17)
tripel-style strong ale brewed with local honey and fermented with our house culture. classic dry and spicy character with a peppery phenolic aroma, which morphs to bubble gum and blonde stone fruits as it warms. 8.9% abv • 500 ml
wild carrot & nettle ($17)
light golden farmhouse ale brewed with wild carrot leaves, and stinging nettle. earthy and spicy effervescent. 5.2% abv • 500 ml
this unique farmhouse ale is an imprint of its place and time. brewed with 131 different leaves, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fungi from the height of the growing season, it conveys a subtle earthiness and spice that is characteristic of our location in southern illinois. 5.3% abv • 500 ml
strawberry rhubarb ($17)
sour beer made with local strawberries and rhubarb fermented with our house culture. 5.5% abv • 500 ml
black cherry ($17)
sour black beer brewed without hops; made with wild cherry bark and a hefty dose of chocolate malt in the grain bill. fermented with our wild house culture, the beer gives flavors of chocolate-covered cherries, incense, and baking spice. 5.6% 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 Steeleville; 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. 6.7% abv • 750 ml
this farmhouse ale was brewed with roselle, a type of hibiscus flower, from our garden. roselle has a natural tartness reminiscent of cranberries and tart cherries and adds a hint of pink color to this dry and lightly funky farmhouse ale. 5.5% abv • 750 ml
foeder-aged porter ($20)
this robust porter brewed with a hefty dose of chocolate malt and a touch of sweet cicely flowers, then aged in our 7 bbl oak foeder from foeder crafters in Missouri. veevtly smooth with a strong oak backbone, a hint of licorice, and a very light acidity. 5.5% 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 farmer, Kris Pirmann or purchased from local farmers. Goat cheese is from Baetje Farms, located outside Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.
Wood-Fired Oven Pizza (approximately 12 inches)
Our pizzas are stretched lovingly by hand. Please allow 20 minutes or longer if we are busy.
Roasted Squash ($15)
Topped with roasted squash spread made with tahini and spices and chevre goat cheese
Sliced Pepper ($15)
Topped with heirloom tomato sauce from our garden, house-made pickled peppers, sausage from Wenneman's, and mozzarella
Bloomsdale Cheese Platter ($18)
One of the world's finest goat cheese is made from Baetje farms, just over the river in St. 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 our hearth 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 (contains nuts)
House-made Spicy Harissa
Grisonthaler, an Emmenthaler-style cow's milk cheese from Grison Creamery
Bread Loaves To-Go
Wheat & Spelt Boule ($8)
Walnut & Sunflower Seed Loaf ($10)
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:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the space and on pricing.
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 email@example.com to schedule a time to come by
On-site winter hours:
Friday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Saturday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Sunday: 12 PM - 6 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