Our beer garden is open for beer only, NO food with the following hours:
Fri 4:00 - 8:00 PM
Sat: 12:00 - 8:00 PM
Sun: 12:00 - 6:00 PM
We request that you please wear a mask when you arrive at Scratch and when you are out of your seat in any of our common spaces. Thank you.
We are also still open for to-go sales Friday through Sunday and during the week by appointment. To order ahead, visit our STORE page.
southern illinois microbrewery & farm
open for on-site enjoyment Fri-Sun. See our hours.
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 with a diverse array of farmed and foraged ingredients that showcase the “terroir” of Southern Illinois. Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, founders of River to River Farms in Ozark, Illinois, are the brewery's farmers, produce processors, and baker, monitoring the extensive gardens, and helping to plants for the beer and kitchen.
In 2016, the brewery published a book on brewing with farmed and foraged ingredients called The Homebrewers Alamanac (more below), and won its first Great American Beer Festival medal for Oyster Weiss, a Berliner Weisse-style beer brewed with oyster mushrooms and turmeric. Scratch now bottles special release offerings and distributes beer to select bars and liquor stores in Illinois and in half a dozen other states, though most is sold in house. In January 2017 the brewery expanded its tasting room space with the opening of the Serpent Room, a collaborative project with artist Brett Douglas Hunter, who brought the room to life with his original art and sculptures. The Serpent Room is available to rent for private events and for non-profits; more information is available below.
2020 FARMERS MARKET
At the moment, we are not attending a farmers market. If you are hoping to purchase bread and soda, please call the brewery to ask about our current availability!
BEER & FOOD
At this time, Scratch is open for on-site consumption in our beer garden only and we are not serving food to eat on-site. All beers are served in 16 oz disposable cups and we are filling only our own clean growlers. All growler fills are $15 and include the bottle. There are NO FLIGHTS available at this time.
All beer may be ordered in growlers and bottles to-go on our STORE page.
We also have jars of pesto and pickles made with our garden-grown produce to go. See the options below and order on our STORE page.
week of september 4-6
basil ale ($6)
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. 6.7% abv
chamomile farmhouse ale ($5)
wheat beer brewed with malt from Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, chamomile flowers from our garden, and fermented with our house culture. fermentation was finished with a wild brett strain leaving the beer bone dry, lightly tart, and just the right amount of funky. 5.5% abv
dry-hopped sassafras leaf ($6)
sour wheat beer brewed with sassafras leaves from our property and illinois-grown macinac hops. refreshing summer beer with notes of citrus and pineapple. 3.5% abv
beet gose ($5)
sour beer brewed in the style of a Leipzig gose with a touch of salt. earthy with an aroma reminiscent of green Japanese plums. a light tartness and gentle salinity make for a thirst-quenching and easy-to-sip summer beer. 4.5% abv
foeder beer ($6)
farmhouse ale brewed with wild grapevines and leaves and aged in our small oak foeders from foeder crafters in missouri. notes of grape, banana, and white pepper, with a smooth oak finish. 6.2%
lemon balm sour ($5)
lightly sour farmhouse ale fermented with our house culture and co-pitched with wild yeast and bacteria, then rested on lemon balm from our property. refreshing summer beer with notes of herbal lemon balm tea. 5.5% abv
keller bier ($5)
unfiltered franconian-style lager that is a showcase for sugar creek’s Munich malt. easy-going malt-forward amber lager with notes of toasted bread and a crisp finish. 5.4% abv
burdock & oak lager ($6)
amber lager brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, Munich, and chocolate malts from Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, then finished in the fermenter with roasted burdock root and oak heart wood from our property. crisp lager character with robust chocolate and coffee undertones and a fresh oak finish. 6.7% abv
wet-hopped farmhouse ale ($6)
barrel-fermented farmhouse ale left to age in oak for 9 months before racking into stainless and dosing with our entire harvest of fresh cascade and chinook hops from our property. bright pineapple and citrus flavor with a wild fermentation character and lightly acidic finish. 5.7% abv
homemade soda ($1 sample · $3 mason jar · $8 growler) mint soda
hot coffee ($3) coffee from our friends at dark matter in chicago!
this special-release bottle is based on historical recipes for a beer called “ebulon” which was brewed with elderberries and aged in barrels, giving it rich stone fruit character and a complex oak finish. our version was brewed with a single Maris Otter malt and Southern Illinois-grown elderberries, then aged with wild yeast in a barrel from Hickory Ridge Vineyards that previous held Norton wine. Each year we pull off just enough beer to bottle and leave the rest in the barrel, topping it off with fresh elderberry beer. The oldest beer in this blended solera is 5 years old, lending it complex oak and berry character. 10.7% abv • 355 ml
dandelion-ginger tonic ($15)
Bottle-conditioned sour beer brewed without hops. Bittered and flavored with southern Illnois-grown dandelion, ginger, carrot tops, and clover, and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. 4.4% abv • 500 ml
basil ipa ($17)
One of our all-time classics! This beer’s aroma comes from basil rather than hops, but plays with the chemical compounds present in both to make a beer that tastes intriguingly familiar. 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
chanterelle biere de garde ($25)
This bottle-conditioned beer was brewed with Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, and chanterelle mushrooms from our property. New this year, we fermented the beer with a lager yeast, making it especially crisp and easy drinking and bringing out the apricot bouquet of the mushrooms. One of our favorite beers is even better! On sale for just a couple more weeks. 6.7% abv • 750 ml
barrel-aged mumm ($17)
bottle-conditioned sour black beer brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with lavender, mint, sage, basil, lemon thyme from our garden, and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. Aged for over a year in a red wine barrel. Chocolate, spice, and red wine finish. one of our most unique sour beers 4.2% abv • 500 ml
barrel-aged cedar oak ($20)
blonde farmhouse ale mashed in a puncheon with cedar branches lining the mash filter. brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle and then fermented with our wild house culture. The beer was then aged in a puncheon with wild yeast and bacteria for two years until bone dry. Light and refreshing with light notes of pine and oak and a dry finish. 6.8% abv • 750 ml
rose root & oak ($18)
tart amber ale brewed with rose root and oak from our property. malt-forward with a tannic black tea bitterness from the rose; and cinnamon, cherry, and vanilla spice from the oak. 8.0% abv • 750 ml
OUR KITCHEN IS NOT CURRENTLY OPEN FOR ON-SITE CONSUMPTION. YOU MAY BRING FOOD WITH YOU AND PICNIC ON OUR TABLES.
Food Items Available To-Go:
Housemade pesto made with our own garden-grown sweet basil (made with sunflower seeds--NO nuts)
Roasted squash, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne, olive oil
Made with our own garden-grown cabbage, herbs and spices
Easter Egg Radish Pickles
Made with our beautiful pink Easter egg radishes
Spicy Korean-style pickled napa cabbage from our garden and other garden grown herbs and spices (NO fish sauce)
Thinly sliced ginger from our garden in a vinegar brine
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.
growler and bottle sales:
*we are a working brewery with a small staff, please call ahead if you are coming by for to-go sales during the week*
On-site and to-go sales:
Thursday: CLOSED for winter
Friday: 4 PM - 10 PM
Saturday: 12 PM - 10 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the space and on pricing.