All About Beer Magazine - Volume 35, Issue 3
May 24, 2014 By


Scratch Brewing Co. sits in softly rolling woods in Ava, IL. Photo by Aaron Kleidon.

Scratch Brewing Co., Ava, IL, and Charleville Vineyard and Winery, Ste. Genevieve, MO 

Stories others tell about getting lost looking for Charleville Vineyard & Microbrewery to the west of the Mississippi River or Scratch Brewing to the east simply make the surrounding countryside quieter and the beer better-tasting.

Scratch sits in softly rolling woods, a seven-mile drive from the tiny town of Ava and a short distance from Shawnee National Forest. The patio is mostly enclosed by a low wall made of rocks taken from a nearby creek, but extends into the woods. There’s a small hop yard in front, a wood-fired oven used to bake sourdough bread and pizzas around on the side. The beer menu changes weekly, the best choice usually a combination of something including ingredients foraged from the woods, boiled over an open fire and fermented with saison yeast.

The address aside, it takes 40 minutes to get to Charleville from St. Genevieve. A panoramic view overlooking first vineyards, dipping into a wide valley and stretching onto distant hills, only reveals itself in the final minute. Although alcohol-packed Charleville Barleywine and Box of Chocolate Quad are cold-weather favorites, on the brewery patio or at nearby picnic tables, Charleville Pilsner, grassy and cracker-crisp, perfectly suits a quiet weekend afternoon.

—Stan Hieronymus

New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI

Overlooking a bucolic village founded by Swiss immigrants, New Glarus Brewing Co. is best known for Spotted Cow, a cream ale made with local malt, and fruit beers like Wisconsin Belgian Red. Wander the grounds in winter when the hillside is white with snow or in summer when new growth colors the pastoral landscape green.

—Erika Bolden

More in the Midwest

Jolly Pumpkin, Traverse City, MI

This story appears in the July issue of All About Beer MagazineClick here for a free trial.

See more great places to drink beer outside in the South.