Scratch's New Hours for 2021!
Mon-Thurs: To-go orders by appointment only. Call 618-426-1415 or email to arrange a time to come by.
Friday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Saturday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Sunday: 12 PM - 6 PM
We no longer require a mask for fully vaccinated people!
To order beer to go 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 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.
BEER & FOOD
week of july 9 - 11
filé farmhouse ale ($5)
blonde farmhouse ale brewed with sassafras leaves from our property. light and effervescent with a citrusy finish from the leaves. 5.2% abv
wild cherry biere de garde ($6)
beer brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle with grian from our friends at Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, and wild cherry bark from our property. woodsy, slightly smoky bark character with bright cherry aromas and a clean malt-forward finish. 7.0% abv
fire-brewed pilsner ($5)
a pilsner as only scratch can brew, made entirely with local malt and Illinois-grown hops, then brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle. this beer has a grain character expressive of our region with Sugar Creek Malt's second to none pilsner and a spicy noble hop-like character from Hallowed Hop Farm's Crystal hops. direct fire brewing in our copper kettle adds a unique kettle caramelization unlike any other, adding body and a touch of a caramel. fermented with lager yeast for a crisp, clean finish. 4.7%
barrel-aged black cedar ($6)
sour black ale brewed with eastern red cedar then aged in a former wine barrel for a year with wild yeast and bacteria. tart and chocolatey with a pine-like aroma. 6.5% abv
dry-hopped sassafras ($5)
tart farmhouse ale brewed with fresh sassafras leaves, dry-hopped with illinois-grown mackinac hops, and fermented with our wild house culture. super light and refreshing beer with big citrus notes from the sassafras leaves and hops. finishes dry with a refreshing acidity% abv
dandelion ginger tonic ($6/no growler fills)
sour ale brewed without hops. Brewed with pilsner malt from Sugar Creek Malt, honey from Royal Bee in Steeleville, ginger from our farm, and dandelion and clover greens from the garden. Fermented with our wild house culture. Tart, spicy and refreshing. 5.5% abv
burdock & oak ($6)
rustic amber lager brewed with burdock roasted in our hearth oven; after primary fermentation, the beer was allowed to rest on toasted oak heart wood from our property. clean, crisp malt profile with earthy notes of chocolate, cherry, and freshly sawn oak and a tart espresso-like finish. 6.7% abv
barrel-aged sour beer co-fermented with southern illinois-grown chambourcin grapes, then aged in a napa valley cabernet barrel for a year. a true beer-wine hybrid with a ton of chambourcin character and moderate oak character from the barrel, a bit like a sparkling red wine. 6.3% abv
strawberry sumac ($6)
sour ale brewed without hops. brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt, fermented with our wild house culture, then re-fermented on Southern Illinois-grown strawberries and sumac. pronounced strawberry aroma with a cherry pie-like finish from the sumac. scored a 99 in Craft Beer & Brewing! 5.5% abv
homemade soda ($1 sample · $3 mason jar · $8 growler)
cold-brewed coffee ($3) coffee from our friends at dark matter in chicago!
foeder beer ($10)
this farmhouse beer went through primary fermentation in stainless steel and was left to rest for a year in Missouri white oak foeders from our friends at Foeder Crafters. the beer was brewed with wild grape vines and leaves for a white grape-like character and has a smooth vanillin finish from the oak. 7.5% abv • 355 ml
bottle-conditioned sour beer brewed without hops. made with pilsner malt from sugar creek malt, honey from royal bee in Steeleville, and ginger from our garden, fermented with our wild house mixed culture. tart, spicy, refreshing. 5.6% abv • 500 ml
dandelion ginger tonic ($15)
bottle-conditioned sour beer brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with our gardn-grown ginger, dandelion, carrot tops, and clover, and fermented with our house culture. 4.4% abv • 500 ml
strawberry sumac ($17)
sour ale brewed without hops. brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt, fermented with our wild house culture, then re-fermented on Southern Illinois-grown strawberries and sumac. pronounced strawberry aroma with a cherry pie-like finish from the sumac. racked up a score of 99 in Craft Beer & Brewing. 5.5% abv • 500 ml
wild cherry biere de garde ($20)
bottle-conditioned beer brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle with grain from our friends at Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, and wild cherry bark from our property. woodsy, slightly smoky bark character with bright cherry aromas and a clean malt-forward finish. 7.0% abv • 750 ml
barrel-aged sahti ($20)
northern european-inspired dark beer mashed in an oak puncheon through a bed of juniper branches. brewed over a wood fire in our copper kettle with additional juniper branches, then aged in oak for a year with wild yeast and bacteria. 7.6% abv • 750 ml
foeder-aged fig ($20)
bottle-conditioned beer brewed with Chicago hardy figs and clover from our property, then aged in a new oak foeder. the figs and clover lend notes of cinnamon and baking spice flavor that melds well with the vanillins in the oak and a balancing acidity from the wild yeast and bacteria. 5.5% abv • 750 ml
chanterelle biere de garde ($25)
a scratch classic! One of our favorite beers. this is a malty farmhouse beer brewed with over 100 lbs of chanterelle mushrooms from the woods behind our brewery. A crisp farmhouse beer with notes of apricot and caramel and a mushroomy cellar character on the finish. 6.5% abv
Stein Beers 2021
Single bottles are $10.
1. Stein Lager
Marzen-style lager brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt. Illinois-grown Chinook hops were used for for bittering and Crystal hops for aroma. Fermented with lager yeast. 6.8%
5. Sweet Clover Stout
Sweet stout brewed with Sugar Creek Malt’s pale malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, and yellow sweet clover from our garden. 5.5%
Swedish-style smoked ale mashed through eastern red cedar branches. Sugar Creek Malt’s malted rye and chocolate rye predominate the grain bill with rustic såinnhus malt. 6.5%
9. Wild Cherry Stein Beer
Brewed with Sugar Creek's Vienna, wheat, and Crystal 120, with Illinois-grown Chinook hops, and wild cherry bark from our trees. Fermented with our house culture. 6.5% abv
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 our 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 from Lick Creek Beef & Pork.
Wood-Fired Oven Pizza
*available starting at 4:00 PM on Fridays and Noon on Saturday and Sunday
Our pizzas are stretched lovingly by hand. Please allow 20 minutes or longer if we are busy.
Tomato & Fresh Oregano ($13)
Topped with sauce made from our garden-grown tomatoes, fresh oregano, and mozzarella
Sausage & Green Onion ($14)
Topped with Italian sausage from Lick Creek, fresh green onions from the garden blistered in our oven and 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, chose 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.
Bread Plate ($20)
Feeds 2 people or 4 as an appetizer. Assorted foods from our garden and breads made with flour from Janie's Mill. All the sides were prepared in our kitchen with our own garden-grown produce. This week we have:
Wedges of white and rye hearth bread
Baetje Farms Chevre
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 to schedule a time to come by
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
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.