Scratch will be open normal hours for the entire month of December but CLOSED Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
Pick up beer to go M-F: 11 AM to 5 PM
On site: Thurs: 5-8PM, Fri: 4-10 PM,
Sat: 12 PM-10PM, Sun: 12PM-8PM
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 december 13-15
try a sample flight of 4 beers for $10!
Sunday Special: Smoked Amber Gravity Cask
Poured from a traditional German gravity cask, this smoky amber ale is brewed with Sainnhus malt from our maltster in Indiana. His unique malt is kilned in a Norwegian-style malthouse--the only one of its kind in North America. Some of our favorite malt and an amazing vessel to try it from! $5/16 oz
southern wheat ($5 for a 14 oz. snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
wheat beer brewed with 50% Pilsner Malt from Sugar Creek, 25% malted wheat from Sugar Creek, and 25% local southern illinois unmalted wheat. Light and smooth with notes of citrus, banana, and freshly baked bread. 4.6% 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
filé farmhouse ale ($5 for a 12 oz snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
blonde farmhouse ale brewed with malt from Sugar Creek Malt, Illinois-grown hops, and a big dose of filé made with sassafras leaves from our woods in the aroma. fermented with our wild house culture. supremely easy drinking farmhouse ale with notes of citrus and a fruit loop-like finish. 4.5% 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
fig leaf black ale ($5 for 12 oz snifter; $12.50 growler fill)
light-bodied black ale brewed with fig leaves from our property and fermented with our house culture. lightly roasty to start followed by a prune and cinnamon finish. 4.7%
blueberry hyssop ($6 for a 12 oz snifter; $15 growler fill)
sour ale brewed without hops. brewed with grain from Sugar Creek Malt, bittered and flavored with anise hyssop from our garden, and fermented with our wild house mixed culture. refermented on Southern Illinois-grown blueberries. balanced acidity with notes of berry and spice. 4.9% abv
oak-aged grape leaf ($7 for a 12 oz snifter; $17 growler fill)
sour ale brewed with wild grape leaves and vines, and aged in an oak foeder for a year. lovely grape wine-like character with a complex yeast and bacteria fermentation and lightly oaky finish. 5.6% abv
dry-hopped paw paw ($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 Pacific Gem and Chinook hops. refermented on fresh paw paws for a big fruity flavor and aroma. 5.5% abv
smoked leaves ($5 for a 14 oz goblet; $12.50 growler fill)
farmhouse ale brewed with smoked oak and hickory leaves from our property, fermented with our wild house culture, and finished with a strain of wild bacteria. blonde ale with a lightly tart and smoky finish.
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 basil pesto and mozzarella
Salame & File' ($14)
Topped with goat cheese from baetje farms, local honey, and salame from Salume Beddu. Finished with homemade file' powder and smoked paprika
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.
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 for $12:
+ olive oil
+ spicy beer mustard
+ harissa (spicy pepper spread)
+ plum-ginger jam
+ chevre & honey
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
barrel-aged ash (scratch-brasserie du brabant collaboration) ($10)
sour ale brewed without hops. bittered and flavored with ash leaves from brasserie du brabant's property in belgium, and mashed through cedar branches from our property before being boiled over a wood fire in our copper kettle and fermented with our house mixed culture. left to age for a year in a red wine puncheon. 5.7% 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
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%
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the space and on pricing.