Scratch's Hours 2022
Friday - Sunday
12 PM - 8 PM
Orders are available for pick up on weekdays by appointment only. Visit our STORE page to order and call or email to arrange a time to come by.
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 August 5-7
*we are cash only!*
helles lager (fire-brewed) ($5/$15 growler fills)
blonde helles bock brewed in our copper kettle over a wood fire. deceptively smooth and easy-drinknig beer with added kettle caramelization from the direct heat from the wood fire. 6.7% abv
jonathan farmhouse (6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
light farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house culture and aged on Jonathan apples, dry, slightly tart and lots of apple flavor on the finish 5.0% abv
dandelion ginger tonic ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles)
sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with dandelions, carrot tops, clover, and ginger from our garden. fermented with our wild house culture. 4.4% abv
barrel-aged sour cedar ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
dry-hopped sour ale, brewed with cedar branches from our property, fermented with our wild house culture, then aged in neutral oak with wild yeast and bacteria. 4.9%
file saison ($5/$15 growler fills)
farmhouse style ale brewed with sassafras leaves. light, citrusy, refreshing. 4.7% abv
elderberry ale ($6 goblet/$17 growler fills)
strong ale brewed with elderberries from our property. Bready, caramel malt character with a robust stone-fruit character. 8.8% abv
basil lemongrass ($5 goblet/$15 growler fills)
light refreshing farmhouse ale fermented with our house culture. 5% abv
black cherry sour ($6 snifter/$17 growler fills)
sour black ale brewed with wild cherry bark harvested from the woods around our brewery and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. notes of chocolate-covered cherries and a tart wine-like finish. 5.8% abv
ebulon ($6 snifter/no growler fills-we have bottles))
this special release 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 single maris otter malt, Southern Illinois-grown elderberries, then aged with wild yeast in a Hickory Ridge Vineyard Norton wine barrel. 10.7% abv
non-alcoholic cold brew coffee from dark matter ($3) • basil soda ($3)
Cold bottles available for here and all bottles available at cellar temp to-g0
foeder-aged bark ($10)
amber ale brewed with wild cherry, hickory, and oak bark, then aged in oak foeders from our friends at Foeder Crafters in Missouri. malty backbone with flavors of stone fruit, incense, and baking spice and a smooth, oaky finish. 6.9% abv • 355 ml
dark sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with sage, basil, lemon thyme, rosemary and lavender from our garden. fermented with our wild house culture. 4.2% abv • 500 ml
sour beer brewed without hops. fermented with our wild house culture and flavored with native wild southern illinois passion fruit 4.6% abv • 500 ml
fig porter ($17)
robust porter brewed with chicago hardy figs and juniper branches in the mash. chocolatey base beer with notes of coconut and cinnamon. 6.2% abv • 750 ml
eastern red cedar ($17)
this crisp lager beer was brewed with pilsner malt from Sugar Creek Malt, Southern Illinois-grown hops, and juniper branches in the mash. clean and easy drinking with a resinous finish. 5.7% abv • 750 ml
golden-amber lager brewed with toasted sycamore bark. a smooth and bready malt bill is complemented by notes of apple-cinnamon from the bark. 7.0% abv • 750 ml
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 single maris otter malt, Southern Illinois-grown elderberries, then aged with wild yeast in a Hickory Ridge Vineyard Norton wine barrel. 10.7% abv • 750 ml
wild cherry biere de garde ($20)
copper-colored French-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
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, caramel and a mushroomy cellar character on the finish. 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; and sausage for pizzas is Big Muddy Hogs.
Wood-Fired Oven Pizza (approximately 12 inches)
Our pizzas are stretched lovingly by hand. Please allow 20 minutes or longer if we are busy.
Mama Ghannouj ($13)
Topped with roasted squash from our garden and chevre goat cheese from Baetje farm
Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella ($13)
Topped with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from our garden, olive oil and mozzarella
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 and Rye)
Ozark Mutschli: washed rind cow's milk cheese from Missouri
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to come by
Friday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Saturday: 12 PM - 8 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.