Ale Asylum

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BEER AVG
3.87/5
Based on:
29 Beers
4,334 Ratings
Place Score: 92
Ratings: 169
Reviews: 69
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

2002 Pankratz St.
Madison, Wisconsin, 53704
United States
phone: (608) 663-3926

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: nghab on 05-08-2006

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 169 | Reviews: 69
Reviews by BoitSansSoif:
Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I've been in here a handful of time w/different crowds. The atmosphere is pretty good depending on what part you sit in, and what time you're there. I really liked hanging out back by the pool table area. I haven't taken advantage of the couches but it looks like a cozy place to lounge and drink. Sitting at the tables is okay, but not may favorite place to be...little intimacy when the place starts to fill up. In front of the bar is the liveliest place to be...it's usually full when I go in, but the times I've hung out there were pretty cool.
The beer is very good. I'm fond of most of the styles I've tried from here, and the seasonals are quality brews.
Service was average from the waitstaff, but behind the bar they are very efficient and knowledgeable.
Selection is worthy. They have their old classics on tap, as well as a few seasonals. There's pretty much something for everyone.
I haven't had the sandwiches, but I've ordered pizza twice. It's made somewhere else, frozen, and tossed in the oven on-site, but don't be deceived. It's damn tasty and hits the spot. I would rate this category higher, but there's not a lot of variety in the menu. What they have is very good, but I was surprised by how limited it was.
Prices are reasonable.
I really like this brewery and its beer, except for the location. Going to the nearby DMV usually makes me want to drink, but I'm rarely in the area, so I don't make it out as often as I'd like. Still, every trip is worthwhile.

More User Reviews:
Photo of atone315
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Visited on 2/28/15 as part of the Hop Head Beer Tour. Building was huge, atmosphere felt a tad "corporate". Will definitely stop here again but wouldn't make it the main focus of my trip.

Photo of RobinLee
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nice tour, place is pretty big but we still got to see and hear about all of it. They have all their bottled beers, as well as a couple tap-only, so pretty solid selection. Food was great, came out in timely fashion. If I have a complaint, it is a bit dark in the back, but that's a small personal issue (I don't have the best eyesight to begin with).

Photo of Austin32
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.25

They built a brand new location, full of style, atmosphere and great beer.....unfortunately the handful of times I have been there the service has been below average and the food barely passes low end bar food. Again, very cool building, great drinking atmosphere and great beer... but eat somewhere else.

Photo of Timbo5555
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Good tour,on Sundays,nice setting

Photo of Akrueg7272
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.75

Brewery tour is well worth it. Gives you a good idea of how big they are and how big they could get.

Food is also worth it. Menu is small but eclectic (I would recommend the Jerk pizza).

Beer is awesome. I would make the drive for Happy Ending (oh how I wish they could bottle and sell it).

If you are in the Madison area take the time to stop by.

Photo of saemick
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The food menu isn't the largest, but still a great selection (pulled pork is great0. the year-round beers on tap are very good and the seasonal/ specialty beers are ones I look forward to trying.

Look forward to stopping by every time we pass through Madison. (~2hrs from where I live).

Glad that Bedlam is finally a year-round beer and even happier that they now distribute to IL.

Photo of gwash411
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75

Ale has quickly become my go to beer of choice after visiting on my birthday Jan 2nd.

The beer is smooth and very good.

The service is always meh..nothing special, nothing bad.

Their big beer board with all the offerings either lit up or not is impressive.

$10 a growler refill of this beer is a fantastic price point, imo

You HAVE TO VISIT Ale asylum when you come to Madison, it's right up the street from the Airport so no excuses!

Photo of williamjbauer
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Went with friends in Madison and other members of the Fairmont crew.

Cool industrial feel, nice open space, very new, shiny, and clean.

Great selection of beers on tap though 1/3 were out at the time of our visit. Tried 10 or so beers.

Tour was among the best I have been on and for five clams you get a beer for the tour. Given by the owner, this is a must.

My favorite place in Madison. Can't wait to go back.

Photo of RamboDog
4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This is a pretty cool place. Industrial atmosphere with high ceilings and lots of metal. Good rock and roll music playing, friendly staff and a few people with dogs chilling outside on the patio. I only got to spend about 45 minutes here, but overall I was impressed. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't have any Large size tshirts available when I was there, but that really doesn't have anything to do with beer or atmosphere, it just means they sell lots of tshirts! Definitely recommend stopping in if you're in the Madison area.

Photo of tyleeis
4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Overall a decent visit. Met up with some buddies put on the deck and ordered some pitchers than our own separate pints. The only downside was they were out of a few of their menu beers....I thought was odd being it was on a Wed but I suppose they brew when they can. I'd def recommend.

Photo of lovethebelgians
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Ale Asylum makes some of my favorite beers and they do belgians really well. Have not been able to go on their tour yet. The old pub was much better for beer geeks as the atmosphere was really mellow and perfect for somebody who likes to just drink a beer and relax, the new place is overcrowded even know it is huge.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The Ale Asylum is an interesting Oasis sort of an island or Asylum all by itself. The building is much bigger and more modern than I anticipated. The building looks similar to may poured concrete warehouses. Inside however the decor was much softer and conducive to a brewery. Part of the dinning room overlooked the bottling line which was neat. The quality of beer and food provided was outstanding. The selection thou slipped a notch becuase there was not a "kids" menu...if I didn't have kids this would not be an issue....however....since there wasn't one and my kids can be assholes....it sucked the life out of my visit...for any one from the Asylum reading this...PLEASE ADD CHEESE PIZZA TO THE MENU AT A MINIMUM. The service was great....very kind and attentive. Overall the prices were fine....being from Chicago I thought they were reasonable. Recommendation....leave the kids and spouse at home! This will allow for maximum enjoyment.

Photo of jreindl
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My wife and I visited on a Sunday and took the tour. We had a pint before the tour started, the Bartender was a bit cold, but it was just after open I guess. If you're not familiar with their beers, solid all around brewery. Their pales/IPA's are very good and I very much enjoyed the Big Slick stout. The tour was excellent, and got to spend a while chatting with the owner. Their brew house is state of the art and custom designed and the whole brewery is designed around efficiency. They moved up a notch in my book after this. The building has a nice modern art feel out front with lots of stainless steel, big windows and a sort of rocker décor. We met some fiends from Madison after the tour and had a bite to eat. Service was better in the restaurant. Food was excellent, I love my pulled pork, and my friend got a plate of nachos that could have feed the whole table. Took a growler of their scotch ale home and the total bill was under $60 for four with drinks. Not bad. I recommend a stop if you are in the neighborhood, especially if it's Sunday.

Photo of kendrahayes
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited the "old" Ale Asylum and had a great time. The premade pizza was actually really good, and the bartender was awesome! I can't get Ale Asylum in my area and I am a big fan of a couple of their brews. I will check out the "new" Ale Asylum next time I am in Madtown. Cheers!

Photo of Florida9
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The new location can be described in one word: new. Extremely new, so new that everything is clean and fresh, from the parking lot to the tables, everything is just sparkling at this point. It leaves an impression and is a far cry from the cramped, dimly lit, brewpub that they used to be.
There is a long bar area up front along with a pool table (which, despite my observation that everything is new, appears to be the same table as the old location). Tables are seated to the side and rear of the facility, with windows looking into the bottling line. The color scheme is very modern, though some accent pieces, like under-lighted lava rocks, do add some (devilish) warmth to an otherwise cold-feeling atmosphere.
And while some things have changed, the beers are the same they have always been, though they've added a rotating "experimental" tap. For the most part, Ale Asylum brews up some pretty good, though (aside from the experimental tap) the selection is limited to exactly what you can find in bottles or on draft all over town.
Service is still good. No change from the old place, though the new location does have a bit more of a corporate restaurant feel to it than the old place did. Never-the-less, service is still competent and knowledgeable.
Along with the brewery, the menu has also expanded quite a bit, though I've got to say it's still a fairly limited menu. But along with the surprisingly good pre-made pizzas, they've added some sandwiches and salads to the menu. Nothing overly creative and seemingly geared more to lunch eats, this is not gourmet fair, tough what they do offer is well prepared and, in the end, its pretty good food for a fairly reasonable price.
Overall, I like the place. I'd come back again even though I admit the the old facility had a bit of underground charm that I'm going to miss.

Photo of csiewert
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Visited this past month during a conference and I'm glad I did. Never made it to the old place, but this new place is pretty freaking sweet. Granted, there was basically no brewery yet and they were still doing some construction in the main bar/restaurant area, but the potential is off the charts. Very clean (even though there was construction) and great ambiance, with a good selection of their fine beers. Granted, I think the list was a little limited because the expansion was taking away from brewing time, but the selection was pretty impressive with a wide range of styles. No flights available at the time, but they said that was because they didn't have the glassware/holders yet... and I gave them the benefit of the doubt since they were just installing and filling up the merch area while we were there. Service was so-so, but I think they were fairly new/busy with all the stuff going on. Didn't try the food, so I can't speak to that. Overall, looking forward to my next trip to Madison to check the finished place out.

Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Grabbed some lunch here after visiting the New Glarus brewery. I hadn't been to the old Ale Asylum but my impressions of the new facility were pretty good. The building stands tall and proud with nice black walls on the outside. The inside wall over the bar there a menu that lights up showing what beers are on draft currently. The draft selection was pretty good, I managed to order three beers with my lunch. The Cuban sandwich I ordered was pretty good, not as good as the one I usually order back here at home but still not bad. I was wish friends of mine who insisted that they pay for the bill and I insisted they at least took a $20 from be to help out since I drank more than the rest of them. The place looks great, some really nice elements to look at and it seems like a very relaxed environment. I would go here again.

Photo of kbutler1
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in on a recent trip while coming back from MI. Sort of off the beaten path but that was ok as there was a WI football game going on and the downtown area was packed. Nice little bar and tables as you first walk in and tables off to the right as well. Friendly staff. Food menu is small but the soup, pizza, and sandwich we got was pretty good. Ended up grabbing a few beers as well; their DIPA and their Oatmeal Stout. Overall, a cool bar that I would stop in again at. What was really nice was that it was an easy off and back on the highway to continue the trip back to MN.

Photo of morimech
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

After visiting Great Dane Eastside, this was a culture shock. One is a civilized, soccer mom hangout. The other is a beer geek, metal/punk industrial joint. The brewpub is located on an end of a commercial building. Not very busy when I walked in. Hit with the smell of cleaning agent and garlic. Can tell this is a working brewery and pizza joint. Sat at the bar and I was quickly greeted. Service was friendly and prompt throughout the evening. Is the uniform for female bartenders in Madison skirt and cowboy boots? Everywhere I went it was the same. The beer was great. Had three pints and I wanted more. Despite the sign on the side of the building stating "Deli", food choices are...different. We obviously have a different definition of deli. Seems like everything is frozen and thrown into an electric pizza oven. Drunk people wouldn't care.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Another stop on Bachelorpalooza while in Mad town.

I like to think I coined the phrase FFF light for this place when I visited for the first time several years ago. Except theses guys aren't raging assholes.

Industrial rocker meets brew pub feel. Decent tap selection of seasonals and year round beers.

We took up a quarter of the place and ordered food and beers. Food was good. Beers were solid as usual. Service was friendly and she managed to handle 10 guys constantly harassing her.

The tour was brief yet very informative.

We were told they will be moving soon and tripling there square footage. Good for them.

Photo of sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

One of our many stops we made for my good friend Andy's bachelor party up in Madison.
Not a whole lot to look at from the outside since it is located in a strip mall, but I quickly changed my opinion when we went in.
Still a small place overall, but I quickly got a similar vibe when entering FFF. Heavy metal feel and look to the place. A decent sized bar and a surprisingly roomy sitting/dining area to the right.

The staff was friendly, helpful and efficient despite having 10 half drunk guys on a bachelor party walk in and order food and beer. Most of us ordered pizza and it was good, though maybe a little overpriced. The beer however was solid and enjoyable.

The highlight of the visit was the tour, which was given by one of the actual brewers, so it was very detailed and informative. Overall, a solid visit and worth checking out.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Been to Ale Asylum several times over the years, usually the morning after Great Taste on the way out of town to pick up some beers to drink at home. This time I was meeting a friend and had some time to spend for a change. They've really grown over the years, improving food offerings and expanding their beer selection. Still a fan of Ambergeddon and the new (to me, anyway) Bedlam was a fun addition. Had the veggie burger for dinner, and it was better than average. More than good enough, especially the very fresh bread. Great stop right off the freeway.

10/19/11 addition
Made another pit stop at the Ale Ayslum. Stayed in Madison for the night heading to Chicago and Purdue the next day, so stopped in for a night cap. Satisfaction Jacksin was on tap, and my new, clear favorite in the AA line up. Very nice Double IPA that is worth the trip out to the freeway.

Photo of emerge077
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Ale Aslylum was our last stop on the way out of town, concluding the Madison weekend beer-binge extravaganza™.

Visited during the release of Bedlam! Trappist IPA.

As mentioned, the atmosphere here is nice for being in an industrial park on the east side (not unlike Three Floyds). We sat on the patio until the sun disappeared and the wind picked up. Inside towards the back of the seating area were a couple hightop corner tables with dim lamps, and a nice leather couch that we took over. The view consisted of two picture windows into the brewery, and the vintage brunswick pool table (with leather pockets). The bar was a bit packed, so we only went up to order and retreated to the back corner.

Beer selection was great, and ran the gamut of their regular lineup, in addition to seasonal IPA's Ballistic and Bedlam!. Noticed a nice selection of whiskey here also. We were there for the Bedlam of course, and it was awesome. Four of us went through two pitchers easily. Track this beer down, it's a Citra bomb that's intensely fruity and delicious.

Service was a bit strained, but they deserve a pass due to the crowd. Ordering at the bar was no problem, there were 4 staff behind the bar. Will definitely return to AA despite the odd location that's kept me away for so long. Thanks to the Jeremies for meeting up with us...

Photo of cwcolby74
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2

This is an interesting brewpub. After spending two evenings here and sampling almost everything they offered, I'm now a big fan of Ale Asylum. Their beer is outstanding. The brewpub keeps almost all their offerings there on tap as well as some stuff they don't bottle or release only seasonally (I'm thinking specifically of Triple Nova here. Awesome beer!).

The place itself is a little small, especially the bar. But the servers are friendly and seem to genuinely like and know something about their beer, something I don't take for granted in a town whose bars usually just hire college kids.

The only negatives I'd have are the food and the prices. The food is atrociously overpriced and not very good (frozen mini-pizzas that they unwrap, throw some toppings on and put in a mini-oven, then sell for like $7). And the beer is a little expensive for the setting.

But I'd still highly recommend visiting here and trying a variety of their beer so you know what to buy in bottle before you leave town.

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Ale Asylum in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.