Beer and Breweries

Scratch Brewing Brings Experimental Beers to Colorado for GABF Week

Scratch Brewing Brings Experimental Beers to Colorado for GABF Week

Each year during GABF week, Scratch Brewing Company has brought something unique for the festival and for Colorado beer drinkers—something a little out of the ordinary, but true to its roots making place-based beers in the middle of the woods in Southern Illinois. The same is true this year with five unique offerings on the floor, and a number of kegs and bottles being distributed around Colorado through Crooked Stave Artisans.

(READ: A Fascination with Foraged Beers)

This year at GABF, Scratch is presenting five experimental beers brewed with parts of trees and plants that surround the brewery. The beers fall roughly into the category of farmhouse ales, brewed with the brewery’s wild house mixed culture of yeast and bacteria, all with moderate to low gravities and wild spice and funkiness from the botanicals harvested on site. All five beers have been on tap at the brewery and will be available in bottles as a special-release series later in the year. All five will be on the floor at GABF this year. Information on each of these beers is listed below:

  • Leaves – Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture and brewed with leaves from 34 different plants and trees: oak, hickory, sage, hyssop, bee balm, lemon balm, thyme, filé spice, laurel, mint, thistle, blackberry, raspberry, oregano, sweet cicely, goldenseal, geranium, rose, grape, dandelion, sweet woodruff, lettuce, horseradish, clover, plantain, violet, chickweed, chamomile, ginger, carrot, bergamot, shiso, juniper and rhubarb.
  • Roots – Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture and brewed with Southern Illinois-grown ginger, turmeric, carrot, clover, and burdock roots.
  • ​​Seeds – Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture and brewed with hickory, juniper, and laurel seeds from our property.
  • ​​Bark – Sour beer without hops made with cherry, hickory, and oak bark and fermented with our wild house mixed culture.
  • ​​Flowers – Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture and brewed with borage, marigold, hyssop, rose, and bee balm flowers.

Each of these unique expressions captures the essence of each part of the plant or tree, from the roots all the way to the flowers. They speak of Scratch’s place in the woods and of the unique flavoring and aromatic potential of parts of plants that are often overlooked. Co-owner Marika Josephson says that the beers are “the closest we have come to creating beer that fully encapsulates our region with yeast and bacteria from our kitchen, malt from our friends at Sugar Creek Malt, and botanical additions from our farm and field. We are very proud to be able to exhibit them all together in one place.”

(TRAVEL: A Beer Lover’s Guide to the Denver International Airport)

GABF Week Events in Colorado

Scratch will also be pouring in and around Denver throughout GABF week this year and is hosting a special beer dinner with friends in Lyons on Saturday, October 7th. Below are a list of events Scratch will be participating in throughout the week:

Tuesday, October 3

Beers Made By Walking, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Wednesday, October 4 

What the Funk?! The studios at Overland Crossing

Farm to Barrel, Goed Zuur

Friday, October 6

Denver Rare Beer, McNichols Civic Center Building

Saturday, October 7

Forest & Farm Dinner: Friends at Harvest, Lyons, CO

This is a special farm-to-table event created in collaboration with chefs, farmers, and drink-makers who care about sustainable farming and regional food. Chef Grant Buchanan expertly pairs four courses with four Scratch beers (File’ Saison, Blueberry, Bark, and Chambourcin) utilizing regionally farmed ingredients and some foraged plants from Southern Illinois. Spirit Hound Distillers from Lyons, CO, provides a welcome cocktail and a nightcap of whisky from one select barrel. Proceeds go to benefit the Berry Center, a non-profit that puts Wendell Berry’s writings to work for farmers, conservationists, and regional economies.

  • 6 p.m. Cocktail Hour: Welcome Cocktail by Spirit Hound Distillers, small bites by GB Culinary and live music
  • 7:15 p.m. Dinner: Four farm-to-table Front Range courses by GB Culinary paired with four of Scratch’s distinct seasonal brews.
  • 9 p.m. Night Cap: A curated sip of one of Spirit Hound’s choice whisky barrel #s (Note: Event Ages 21+)

The following Scratch beers will also be in Colorado starting in October:

Draft

  • Bark: Sour beer without hops made with cherry, hickory, and oak bark and fermented with our wild house mixed culture.
  • Basil IPA: Made with malt from our friends at Sugar Creek in Indiana and three different types of basil from our garden: sweet, lemon and tulsi
  • Filé Saison: Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture and brewed with sassafras leaves
  • Sour Hyssop: Sour beer made without hops, brewed with anise hyssop from our garden and fermented with our wild house mixed culture
  • Strawberry Rhubarb: Sour beer brewed with Southern Illinois-grown strawberries and rhubarb over a wood fire and fermented with our wild house mixed culture
  • Chanterelle Turmeric: Sour beer made without hops, brewed with foraged chanterelle mushrooms and turmeric from our farm and fermented with our wild house mixed culture
  • Blackberry Lavender: Sour beer brewed with southern Illinois-grown blackberries and lavender from our garden over a wood fire then fermented with our wild house mixed culture

Bottles

  • Basil IPA: see above
  • Strawberry Rhubarb: see above
  • Blueberry Sour: Sour beer brewed with Southern Illinois-grown blueberries over a wood fire then fermented with our wild house mixed culture
  • Chambourcin: Farmhouse ale fermented with our wild house mixed culture then re-fermented on Southern Illinois-grown chambourcin grapes and aged in a puncheon that previously held red wine

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 homegrown 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.

Contact Info

Company: Scratch Brewing Company
Contact: David Wright
Email: david@scratchbeer.com