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Scratch's Hours 2023


Fri - Sun12 PM - 8 PM

You may arrange to pick up beer to go during the week by calling the brewery or sending an email to

southern illinois microbrewery & farm
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  open for on-site enjoyment Fri-Sun. See our hours.   cash only

   we do not allow buses. parties of 12 or more please call ahead

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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.

Mason jars
Wheezy and the goats
Outdoor fire pit
Goat house and hops
Aaron foraging for ingredients
Scratch beer
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Draft List for Weekend of June 2 - June 4

*we are cash only!*   *all prices include tax*  try a flight of 4 for $12 

elecampane brown ale ($5 goblet/$15 growler fills)

brown ale with subtle camphor and licorice aroma, brewed with the root of the elecampane flower, which resembles a sunflower. 6.1% abv


hickory farmhouse ale ($6 snifter/$17 growler fill)

rustic farmhouse ale brewed with toasted hickory bark, fermented with our house culture, then conditioned for a year with a wild brettanomyces yeast strain. dry and effervescent with a hint of incense, toasted marshmallow, and earthy bitterness. 5.6% abv


dry-hopped paw paw ($6 snifter/$17 growler fill)         

dry-hopped sour ale with paw paw, a local, wild native fruit from the forest. tropical flavors from the fruit and hops, lightly tart. 4.0% abv

fig porter ($5/$15 growler fills)        
porter brewed with coffee and a hefty dose of chocolate wheat malt from Sugar Creek Malt, mashed through juniper, and brewed with Chicago Hardy figs from our property. cinnamon, orange peel, and clove aromas complement a chocolatey base beer.  5.2% abv


sassafras pilsner ($5 goblet/$15 growler fills)                    

a classic German-style pilsner brewed with sassafras leaves from our property. crisp and lightly bitter with a citrus aroma from the leaves and a touch of extra body and kettle caramelization from our wood-fired kettle. 4.5% abv

barrel-aged plum ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)    
sour ale fermented with our wild house culture, then aged in wine barrels for over a year. refermented in stainless steel with southern illinois-grown green gage plums. oaky with a tart and fruity finish from the plums. 6.5% abv

single tree hickory ($6 snifter/no growler fills -- we have bottles) 

sour ale brewed without hops. made with grain fro Sugar Creek Malt, bittered and flavored with hickory leaves, nuts, and bark, and fermented with our house mixed culture. notes of incense and toasted marshmallow. 5.8% abv

honey beer ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles)

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 

smoked lager ($5 goblet/$15 growler fill)

easy-drinking blonde lager brewed with pilsner and a touch of Munich malt, with a hint of smoked barley from Sugar Creek Malt's wood-fired sainnhus. 4.3% abv

non-alcoholic   cold-brew coffee from dark matter ($5) • lemon balm soda ($4)


Cold bottles available for here and all bottles available at cellar temp to-g0

kvass ($15)

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

dry-hopped peach ($15)

sour ale brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt and fermented with our wild house culture. dry-hopped with Illinois-grown hops and peaches from Mileur Orchard.

5.5% abv • 500 ml

dandelion ginger tonic ($15)

sbottle-contioned 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

maypop ($17)

sour beer brewed without hops. fermneted with our wild house culture and flavbored with wild southern illinois passion fruit (maypop from our property). tropical aromas with a sweet-tart finish. 4.6% abv  •  500 ml


single tree hickory ($17)

bottle-conditioned sour ale brewed without hops. made with grain fro Sugar Creek Malt, bittered and flavored with hickory leaves, nuts, and bark, and fermented with our house mixed culture. notes of incense and toasted marshmallow. 5.8% abv • 500 ml

dry-hopped sassafras ($17)

sour wheat beer brewed with sassafras leaves from our property and Illinois-grown Macinac hops. refreshing summer beer with notes of citrus and pineapple. 4.1% abv • 500 ml

honey beer ($17)

sour 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

chestnut & oak ($17)

lightly tart amber farmhouse ale aged on roasted southern Illinois-grown chestnuts and oak heartwood. aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, and cherry with a delicate nuttiness on the finish. a great beer to pair with turkey and holiday festivities. 6.2% • 750 ml

wild cherry bière de garde ($20)

copper-colored rench-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

marigold ($20)

farmhouse style ale bittered and flavored with marigold flowers and leaves and fermented with our wild house culture, then aged in oak for 9 months. 6.4% abv • 750 ml

ebulon ($20)

this barrel-aged beer was brewed based on historical records for a beer called "ebulon," which was brewed with elderberries and aged in oak. accounts describe it as being port wine-like from the robust elderberry flavor, oak aging, and residual sweetness. we do an abbreviated solera aging, in which we pull a portion of a barrel for packaging each year, and top the same barrel off with fresh beer. the beer in this year's 2023 batch is now a blend of beers from fine years ago until today, brewed with elderberries from our property. 10.3% abv • 750 ml

black walnut ($20)

dark lager brewed with southern illinois black walnuts, crushed and toasted in our wood-fired oven and added to the boil. fascinating flavors of nocino, sweet baked bread, and stone fruit.  6.2% abv • 750 ml

black trumpet biere de mars ($20)

dark farmhouse beer brewed with black trumpet mushrooms from our property. notes of earthy chocolate with a crisp finish and a cellared mushroom character. 6.9% abv • 750 ml

chanterelle bière de garde ($25)

a scratch classic! this bottle-conditioned farmhouse ale has an especially crisp malt profile from the pilsner, vienna and munich malts from sugar creek malt, and a snappy, refreshing finish. robust apricot aroma with a classic mushroomy cellr finish from the chanterelles. one of our absolute favorite beers. 6.5% 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 farmers Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, 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. 

Margherita ($15) 

Topped with house-made tomato sauce and mozzarella

Sausage & Green Onion ($15) 

Topped with pork sausage from Wenneman's, fresh green onions from the garden, pickled cardoons & olive oil

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)
  Herb Salt

  Olive Oil

  Pickled Cardoons

  Pickled Radishes

  Arugula Pesto

  Grisonthaler Cheese (swiss cheese style cow’s milk cheese from Grison Creamery) 

Walnut & Sunflower Bread with Chevre + Honey ($10)

Three thick slices of our walnut & sunflower loaf served with chevre goat cheese and local honey

Local Lore Ice Cream ($6)

Half pint of regionally-sourced ice cream from Local Lore Farm made with fresh strawberries ($6)

Ice cream sandwich made with strawberry ice cream between two ginger-molasses cookies ($7)

Hearth Bread To-Go

Half Walnut & Sunflower ($10)

Red Fife & Spelt ($9)

Franconian-Style Rye Boule ($9)



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:


Barnes & Noble





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 ( 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 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.


Johnson Creek Recreation Area in Ava

Lake Murphysboro in Murphysboro

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

Stay up to date on Scratch happenings!

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