This is not a list of desert-island beers, or even the objectively “best” beers that Marika Josephson has ever had. Rather, it’s a journey through beers and breweries that informed the philosophies behind Scratch—the tiny rural brewery outside of Ava, Illinois, which she founded with business partner and fellow brewer Aaron Kleidon in 2013.
Over the past eight years, Josephson and Kleidon have charted an unusual path, focusing on foraged ingredients (from mushrooms to tree bark) while brewing over a wood-fired kettle. Josephson says that there was no clear map to follow when they set out on this path, but that was all the more reason to embark on the journey.
These six beers were beacons that illuminated six key points along the way.