southern illinois microbrewery & farm
open for to-go sales M-F 11-5; on site Thurs-Sun
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. Aaron is in charge of identifying and collecting ingredients, while Marika is the head brewer; they are joined by lead production brewer Frank Wesseln. Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, founders of River to River Farms in Ozark, Illinois, are the brewery's full-time farmers, monitoring the extensive gardens, helping to forage and process plants for the beer and kitchen, and taking charge of the on-site baking and pickle-making.
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.
2019 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
Our beer and food changes seasonally. New beers are available every week and food items are added when harvested from our garden. The menu below is updated every week on Friday. We DO NOT serve food on Thursdays.
weekend of october 10-13
try a sample flight of 4 beers for $10!
wet-hopped farmhouse ale ($6 for a 12 oz. snifter; $15 growler fill)
hoppy farmhouse ale brewed with Sugar Creek Malt and our own Cascade and Chinook hops, grown on site. Fermented with our house culture. Light and easy drinking with a bright citrusy finish. 4.9% abv
basil ale ($6 for a 12 oz snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
(formerly Basil IPA) 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. 6.7% abv
hickory leaf ale ($5 for a 12 oz snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
farmhouse ale brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, and hickory leaves from the woods around our brewery. fermented with our wild house mixed culture. dry and spicy with a pleasant tannic backbone from the hickory leaves and a finish reminiscent of lemon peel. 4.2% abv
fest beer ($5 for a 12 oz snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
our take on a lagered fest beer, brewed with local malt and hops, and fermented with our house culture at lager temperatures, brewed as tradition dictates in March and cellared it until our Oktoberfest. you will notice a familiar scratch house character, a little fruitier than in years past, but with a smooth malty finish. 6.1% abv
foeder-aged rose root ($6 for 12 oz snifter; $17 growler fill)
this amber beer was made for cellaring, brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt, rose root from our property, and aged in a new Missuori oak foeder. This beer is malt forward with a balancing tannic bitterness from the rose root, reminiscent of black tea, and a vanillin finish from the oak. 9.7%
ash ($7 for a 12 oz snifter; $15 growler fill)
scratch and brasserie brubrant collaboration sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with ash leaves from brasserie du brabant’s property in belgium, mashed through cedar branches, and left to age in a red wine puncheon. fermented with our house mixed culture. 5.7% abv
dry-hopped plum ($6 for a 12 oz goblet; $15 growler fill)
tart wheat beer fermented with our wild house culture and dry-hopped with a big dose of Illinois-grown Cascade hops. refermented on our own estate-grown plums for a big fruity flavor and aroma. 5.5% abv
sainnhus ale ($7 for a 12 oz goblet; $17 growler fill)
we are lucky to have friends who are as experimental with malt as we are with beer! Sugar Creek Malt built a traditional Norwegian malt house this spring and this is the first batch out of the "Sainnhus." Profoundly smoky from the traditional malting process over a wood fire with a crisp amber malt character and finish. 4.6% abv
homemade soda ($1 sample · $3 mason jar · $8 growler) flavors change seasonally- ask what we have on tap!
hot coffee ($3) coffee from our friends at dark matter in chicago!
our food is almost entirely locally sourced. bread and pizza is baked in house with fresh stone-ground local flour from Janie's Mill in ashkum, illinois, fermented with our sourdough culture, and baked in our wood-fired brick oven. produce is grown in our garden, foraged on our land, or grown on land managed by our farmers, kris pirmann and adriane koontz. goat cheese is from our friends at baetje farms, located outside ste genevieve, missouri. salame and sausage from salume beddu in st. louis.
our kitchen closes 1 hour before close!
Wood-Fired Oven Pizza (approximately 12”)
Topped with house made pesto with basil from our garden and mozzarella
Sausage & Pepper ($14)
Topped with pureed heirloom tomato sauce grown and canned by our farmers, sausage from lick creek, pickled peppers from our garden, and mozzarella
Our pizzas are always seasonal and lovingly stretched by hand before being baked individually in our wood-fired oven. Dough is made with our sourdough culture. All of the tomatoes used in our kitchen are grown by our two farmers, and are served fresh in season or in a sauce that we can in-house for cold months. Herbs are also fresh from the garden in season or dried for winter months. Pizzas with pesto or other spreads are made from ingredients from our garden and processed in our kitchen.
Pretzel & Spicy Beer Mustard ($4)
Hearth-baked sourdough pretzel speckled with poppy seeds and salt and served with our spicy beer mustard
All bread is made with our sourdough culture and Janie’s Mill flour and is baked in our hearth oven. Your choice of Scratch’s House Loaf, Whole Wheat, or Rye. Half and whole loaves are also available to go. Choose a quarter loaf ($2), half loaf ($4), or whole loaf ($7)
And add any of the following sides for $2 each; or 3 for $6; or all 6 sides for $12:
+ olive oil
+ herb salt
+ spicy beer mustard
+ harissa (spicy pepper spread)
+ plum-ginger jam
Bloomsdale Cheese Platter ($13)
one of the world’s finest goat cheeses is made at 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 scratch’s hearth bread.
Appetizer Platter ($15)
assorted foods from our kitchen and regional producers: a wedge of coeur du clos goat cheese from baetje farms, house-made pickles, salame from salume beddu, olive oil, and house-made sourdough hearth bread.
barrel-aged wild grapevine ($10)
this beer was made for cellaring. malt-forward, brewed with toasted wild grape vines from our property, and aged in a red wine puncheon for a year, the beer slowly expresses more grape character and a slightly smoky finish as time progresses. 8.3% abv • 355 ml
barrel-aged maize ($10)
this special beer was brewed with corn from Michalke farms, the family farm of our maltster, Caleb Michalke, at Sugar Creek Malt. Brewed to barrel age in an American whiskey barrel from George Dickel. the beer is dry and oaky with notes of vanilla. 9.3% abv
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
single tree hickory ($17)
bottle-conditioned sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with hickory leaves, nuts, and toasted bark from our property and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. notes of incense and toasted marshmallow. 5.6% abv • 500 ml
bottle-conditioned sour ale brewed without hops. brewed with pilsner malt from sugar creek malt, honey from royal bee in steeleville, ginger from our garden, and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. 5.6% abv • 500 ml
bière de pêche (scratch & jester king collaboration) ($20)
this stainless-steel fermented beer was brewed with peach leaves, lemon balm, and juniper from Jester King's property in Austin, Texas, and botanicals from the woods around Scratch. mashed in oak puncheons, brewed over a wood fire, and fermented with scratch's wild house culture, it is a beer that celebrates the local flora of two breweries driven by making beer with a sense of place. beautiful silky mouthfeel with surprising peach flavor and aroma considering there is no fruit in the beer! finishes with notes of wild spice. conditioned for nearly a year before release, this beer is ready to drink now and is intended to hold up well to cellaring. 8.8%
chanterelle bière de garde ($25)
A Scratch classic! The first style we ever bottled. A golden-amber farmhouse ale brewed with chanterelles from our woods and Sugar Creek Malt. A mushroomy cellar character with notes of apricot and butter. 6.5% abv • 750 ml
hen of the woods ($25)
Blonde farmhouse ale brewed with maitake (also known as hen of the woods) mushrooms, oak leaves, organic Central Illinois-grown wheat, and a touch of smoked malt. Fermented with our house culture, the result is an easy-drinking ale with a hint of coconut and umami. 5.6% abv • 750 ml
This bottle-conditioned beer for cellaring was brewed with a hefty malt bill and refermented with a concentrated chaga tea. The chaga was boiled for five hours to release its unique tannins, which cut through the body of the base beer, and add complexity, structure, and a quality that lends itself to long aging. 8.3% abv • 750 ml
oyster weiss ($25)
Our GABF medal winning experimental beer! This is a sour wheat beer brewed without hops; bittered and flavored with turmeric from our farm and oyster mushrooms from our property, and fermented with our house mixed culture. This beer is tart and peppery, with a light apricot and citrus finish. 3.8% abv • 750 ml
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:
On-site and to-go sales:
Thursday: 5 PM - 8 PM
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 (email@example.com) for more information on the space and on pricing.