Scratch Brewing Co. Releases a Book and Bottles

The co-founders of Scratch Brewing Co., nestled in the woods of Ava, Illinois, are now published authors. Aaron Kleidon, Marika Josephson and Ryan Tockstein wrote The Homebrewer’s Almanac, released in September, as a guide to foraging and brewing beer from scratch. Fifty seasonal recipes are featured in the book, with chapters dedicated to different plants – think hickory, mushrooms, apples – with background and historical uses of the ingredients, and information on how the microbrewery forages and brews with them. Kleidon also did all of the photography for the book.

Tockstein left Scratch at the beginning of this year, but the brewery brought on Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, founders of River to River Farm in Tunnel Hill, Illinois, in his place. Working together, the four formulate recipes, forage, farm, harvest and brew. At the brewery, guests can try one of many specialty beers on tap, which rotate with the seasons, and snack on locally sourced fare such as wood-fired pizzas and a cheese platter featuring freshly baked bread and Missouri’s Baetje Farms goat cheese.

This year, Scratch also bottled its beers for the first time since the brewery opened in 2013. In May, it bottled and released Chanterelle Bière de Garde (brewed with chanterelle mushrooms), Spring Tonic in July (brewed with dandelions, carrot tops, clover and ginger) and Black Trumpet Bière de Mars in August (brewed with black trumpet mushrooms harvested on site), with more slated for later this year. Scratch sells reservations for its bottled beers and sells bottles and cases at the brewery. Scratch self-distributes throughout select areas of Illinois, but no plans for St. Louis distribution are in the works yet. (Photo by Demond Meek)

Scratch Brewing Co., 264 Thompson Road, Ava, Illinois, 618.426.1415,