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The Malt House

Not Rated.
The Malt HouseThe Malt House
BA SCORE
97
world-class

44 Ratings
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 5.15%
Taps: 18
Bottles: 150
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

2609 E Washington Ave
Madison, Wisconsin, 53704-5025
United States
phone: (608) 204-6258

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @malthousetavern

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: DaPeculierDane on 06-29-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of egrace84
4/5  rDev -10.5%

egrace84, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of klikger
4.09/5  rDev -8.5%

I just made it to The Malt House for the first time...I'm not sure what took me so long. The setting is an unpretentious, decades-old building, with a long line of barstools at the actual bar, several tables indoors, and a patio outside. It's very comfortable, but nothing to write home about. The beer selection is one of Madison's best, and taps are continually being changed. Kudos to the staff for keeping its Facebook page regularly updated with current offerings.

My first experience was a bit of a let down due to the inexplicable snappiness of the server when somebody in my party requested a sample. We were quite rudely told that three total samples for a group of four was pushing the limits of acceptability, despite the fact that we each had already purchased a beer (two of which were $7+) , the samples weren't for unreasonably expensive beers, and we were sitting at the bar. That said, I haven't heard anyone else say anything particularly negative about the service here, so perhaps this was an isolated incident. The selection alone is reason to return.

klikger, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of hawks10
4.14/5  rDev -7.4%

Stopped in here for a quick drink on a Saturday evening...

Place itself is pretty small, a few tables and a long bar that runs the length of the building with maybe 20 stools. Three separate tap towers of 6 taps each, one emphasizing Wisconsin locals, one Belgians, one misc. but pretty much leaned to Great Lakes craft...a pretty extensive bottle list as well as various whiskeys and scotch...

Dark and quiet. No tvs and music on low volume. Great place to pull up a stool and have a nice conversation, or to just hear the voices in your head. Patio out front with a good amount of seating. Nice big parking lot too...Only ordered one beer and was on my way, but I will definitely come back...

hawks10, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of groovy24
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%

Something Madison has been needing for quite sometime. The selection is pretty darn good with 18 taps with 6 being Belgians and a great bottle selection. The atmosphere is a little dull but could be due to how new the place is. Maybe the crashing door will be the start of the place. The chalk board is what every good beer bar does but is not placed very well in the old Union House proably because of the great bar that's been around for a while. If you or your friends are into liquor The Malt House has a pretty good slection but make sure to eat before you drink because The Malt House does not serve food.

groovy24, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%

located at east washington and milwaukee street - not too far from the capitol square and just a few minutes from my lady-friend's house. It's not a beautiful area of the city, and is an odd choice for this type of bar in my opinion

atmosphere: a little awkward to arrive at with u-turns and obscure parking lots to deal with. the interior comes with an aroma of aged urine which i guess is what happens when you have a really old bar like this. there is some belgian beer swag on the inside but otherwise nothing really special to set it apart

quality: tons of great beer - thats for sure. my girlfriends st bernardus wit had some dust on it but it still tasted great. no crap beer on tap and minimal in the bottle. In my opinion, madison lacks on bars like this with huge bottle lists - nicely done

service: i think there is some overlap with this joint and the old wonders pub, based on eavesdropping. service was fine, but the place was pretty slow

selection: pretty strong. There were 14 taps i think - 7 belgians and 7 wisconsin beers. The wisconsin beers were a little weird to me (tyranena brown, ng naked, furthermore proper, and some others that didnt excite). the belgians were fairly standard (chimay tripel, duchess, and some others). While standard, its still a pretty nice stash. The bottle list is small print and double sided and really hits home on a lot of good stuff (stone ruination, stone oaked arrogant, all of the st bernardus rotation, goose island premiums, and TONS of other goodies). best bottle selection in town probably

food: i dont think there is any

value: some things seemed really fair (bells TCOA and sparkling ale for 4$) while other belgians were a bit steep. overall, it was pretty fair but 6$ for a bottle of ruination and 7$ for a st bernardus wit was pushing it

overall - a place to keep an eye on and a strong addition to the scene

dirtylou, Aug 04, 2008
Photo of blairb366
4.2/5  rDev -6%

I have visited the Malt House several times since it's opening earlier this summer. It is in the building that used to house the Union House Tavern (the sign is still up at this time). The selection of beers on tap is good, with 6 belgians and 9 micros, most from the area, on tap. There is also a cooler with a good variety of micros and imports. The atmosphere is similar to a local pub, with the emphasis on good beer and conversation. There are no televisions and little food available at this time. The bar and back bar were recently redone and look great. The church pew seating by the window is a nice touch too. Parking is a little tough, but enter from Milwaukee St and there are plenty of spots most nights. All in all a great addition to the beer scene on the east side of Madison.

blairb366, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of BeerDazed
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

BeerDazed, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of Gotti311
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Gotti311, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

bpfrush, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of crobinso
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

crobinso, Mar 23, 2014
Photo of OnWisconsin
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

OnWisconsin, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

Transcribed from extensive notes dated F, 07 Aug 2009.

A post on this site mentioned that either the 4 or 5 bus lines would get me here and I was tiring of downtown so ... And there it was, at the corner of Washington and Milwaukee!

An outdoor patio/picnic area was in front of the building, along MKE. The entry was nearer to WAS and opened onto an angular entryway with the inverted "L"-shaped dark wood bar to the immediate left. Behind the bar, running from left to right, were a four-door cooler followed by an extensive carved wood and mirror back bar welcoming us to the Union House (est. 1858), followed by shelf after shelf of glassware. A pew-like bench sat in front of the windows along MKE, fronted by round tables and blonde-wood chairs that looked like they belonged in an old-time classroom. Another pew-like ench and more tables and chairs sat under a large painting/ photograph (?) of early railroading, followed by a second entryway. My server was busy, but personable. Well done!

Beer: A very Belgian and Belgian-style bent, especially in the cooler. Wisco and Michigan also had a strong presence in the cooler. I am turning more and more away from bottles and concentrating on CANs and drafts. Three Belgian polished-aluminum draft towers, each with a built-in glass rinser, sat atop the bar for a total of eighteen rotating drafts. I began with a New Glarus WI Belgian Red followed by a Tyranena Scurvy.

woodychandler, Jun 25, 2010
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

The Malt House was recommended to Emily and I by the friendly bartender at Brasserie V, Jon.

We are glad we made the stop. We have driven by the Malt House numerous times on our way out of Madison, as we travel on the 151 often. Never would have guessed that they would have such a great selection.

I had the Boon Kriek on tap and Emily the NG Cranbic, which I had never had before and thought was awesome! We ended up switching because she liked the Kriek better than the Cranbic, and vice versa.

The tap selection is extensive, and wide ranging. The bottle list is very nice, with a big profile of different styles and formats of beers. This will be a must stop for Emily and I in the future, and am glad to have had it recommended to us.

MarcatGSB, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of milwaukeeclassic
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

I've been to the places a couple of times since it opened. I rather like it. No televisions and a really nice old bar. The selection is good as well with beers I haven't seen in Madison, like the De Dolle Bos Keun in bottles and the Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise on tap. The bottles are stored in a fridge at the proper drinking temperatures as well, which is a nice touch. A good addition to the Madison beer scene.

The exterior is a bit worn down and the parking lot is pretty jacked up. Also it is a little difficult to figure out where to pull in from east washington street. Overall, a very pleasant place to have a drink.

milwaukeeclassic, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of tyleeis
4.31/5  rDev -3.6%

They have one of the largest/best varieties of beer in town. They always keep a rare selection you wouldn't normally see. It can be a little crowded inside but they have a nice patio to use if the weathers nice. Some of the beer I a bit pricey but you get what you pay for.

tyleeis, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of Grinder
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Pretty darn nice place but a pitiful selection of Brown ales. Sems to have a Belgian thing going on and being a Brown Ale guy I was really hoping for more then like 4.

I love the fact that there is no TV and no smoking and they really do know how to treat their beer.

I am very glad I moved away from Madison s this place would be my down fall.

I did have a number of brews I have never tried and the bartender really knew what she was doing and what she was pouring. Beer was the perfect temperature and I appreciated being able to taste before spending $4 on a pint.

Grinder, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
4.36/5  rDev -2.5%

I'm really starting to like this place. It doesn't look like somewhere you'd want to stop from the outside (And the porn shop across the way doesn't help with that vibe), but once you step inside it's all good. Good tap selection, good bottle selection. I had a Bell's Expedition Stout, can't say I've seen a bottle of there at any bar in Madison. Pretty empty when we stopped in, but I imagine they can get pretty busy. I really like the bar, it's a good place to sit and sip away the cold!

aggiearcher13, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of johanvond
4.36/5  rDev -2.5%

This is the type of bar i prefer to drink in. I don't need T.V. or obnoxious music. You deffinatly won't find that here. It's small with a historic dark wood Bar and new europian taps. The atmosphere evokes the old world. You can find some really rare beers here as well, hence the price, along with some local and old standbys. The best part is that there all serveed in the Proper Glass. The service staff is informative to say the least. Since the owner used to be the pres. of the MHTG, you'll find plenty of home brewers here too. The Lack of T.v's aide in the easy of conversation and apperation of what our holding in front of you. There is an Atm. It's kind of hidden in a dark corner near the Front door. The place is to small for food but you can order in.
This is the spot to come for a unique experiance with good beer, but hede my warning you can drink for value but if your seeking rarity (Cantillion Iris) it is a bit pricy. It is worth very cent.

johanvond, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of cokes
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

Located in the old Union House. If you want porn, it's kiddie corner across E. Washington. This place looks like an awesome dive (and it used to be, depending what "awesome" means), but now the interior and windows are full of signs for beers that 99% of the populace have never heard of or even recognize as beer. I appreciate that.
Don't come here for the big game, or for bar games, or for pumping the juke full of dollars. No TVs, no pool table, darts, shuffleboard, or jukebox.
Come here simply for the beer.
I appreciate that even more.
It's a bit old school with a bar stretching basically the length of the place, and maybe fifteen tables in front of it.
Drink and converse. That's all there is to do here.
This might be a snoozer if the beer selection wasn't so phenomenal. The bottled list is 100 or so deep. Everything from local stuff to $30 bottles of rare Belgians (and when I say "rare", I mean that they are not found in any other establishment in Madison...bar, store, anywhere).
The tap list brings stuff from the States and Abroad. It'd be silly for me to enter what they got since it changes weekly. Just trust me when I say that there's plenty of stuff here that can't be found anywhere near here, and you will not be disappointed.
The tap prices range from $4 for most things brewed here (with a few higher ABV offerings going for $5), up to $7 for the bigger Belgians. Bottles vary from about $4 up to $30+ (as I've already mentioned). Some seem like deals, some are on the steep side. Overall, it's a hair more expensive than Maduro. But there is also more selection and rarity here.
No food to be had, so look elsewhere for that.

I've long griped about the lack of true beer bars in Madison. With this, Dexter's, Maduro, Brasserie V, and a few other upstarts (notably, Alchemy). That's no longer a valid complaint.

The East Washington corridor- from the exit off I 90/94 to the Capitol- is a wonderful beer trek with a couple short jaunts, starting at Ale Asylum, hitting Malt House, Dexter's, Alchemy, and ending at the downtown Great Dane. That's probably the best route for travelers to experience Madison's finest beer establishments.

And selection-wise, this is probably the best of them all.

Absolutely stop here when in Madison.

cokes, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of blackie
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%

atmosphere was relaxed on both of my visits, one this past summer and one over the winter holidays last year, dimly lit, heavily wooden interior, plenty of seating inside with an outdoor patio available

selection has been pretty awesome in the past and from what I'm told rotates pretty frequently, nice tap list representing the midwest, some nationally distributed stuff, and Belgium with a fine array of bottles, any place with Belgian Red on tap is fine by me, beers served in appropriate glassware

service has been up to par with the beer, friendly and knowledgeable, and tolerant of drunken fools demanding food

no food, but they do have some fine potato chips

blackie, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of SciFritz
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%

Atmosphere: This is a great place to chill and definitely knows what it wants to be: just a straight-forward public house. If the day is right one can just sit outside and chill watching the traffic on East Wash and enjoying a good day!

Quality: Can't no beat the quality of the beer and other malt beverages they have on the menu. I go there for the Belgium and Wisconsin taps.

Service: As far as I can tell, it is a one-man shop when I have been there. The service is prompt, friendly, and willing to talk if engaged.

Selection: One of my favorite selections in the midwest.

Food: Who need food.

Overall: you can spend 1-2 hours and have 3-4 quality beers for under $20...that is a good life!

SciFritz, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of nghab
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%

I'm a big fan of the place. Good beers, good turnover in the selection (sometimes so quick that I miss beers I wanted to try!), not cheap but certainly reasonable prices for beers that may not be available on draught elsewhere in the area, and friendly bartenders. The absence of TV is a good thing.

The beer selection turns over often enough that I decided to blog the draught list at http://malthousefan.wordpress.com

(disclaimer: not an official website, no financial interest in the place, blahblahblah)

I don't promise to get every change posted or update it after every single time I visit, but I'll aim for updating it a few times a month, as feasible. Enjoy.

Now go have a beer!

nghab, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of Tiburon
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%

This is a sweet little beer bar on east Wash in Madison. They have a long wood bar w backless stools, and some tables and a bench. Tap beer was balanced between Belgians and Midwest beers. They were playing music when we were there, but it was low and not intrusive on conversation. They have an impressive collection of barware, and were able to put my Chimay in a Chimay glass. I really appreciate proper barware. Bartender did not seem particularly chatty, but that was not a problem. 18 taps, lots of bottled beers, and a great selection of scotch, whiskey, and some bourbon. Website is weak, check them on Facebook & Twitter.

The pizza delivery guy dropped off three pizzas for patrons while we were there, and I believe the bartender had some carryout food delivered also. Not sure if they had menus there, but prob so. Crowd was mixed w a few younger hipsters, and a lot of middle aged beer lovers.

Tiburon, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of johnkale
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%

Went here last night for the first time hoping to get some NG Bourbon Barrel Kriek. Too late for that unfortunately. Still enjoyed myself immensely.

Very long bar, screen door that slams, incredibly loudly, echoey space that was pretty loud without any music. While too noisy due to basic acoustics the whole vibe managed to be incredibly unpretentious, simple decor, lots of small tables, fairly well lit (for a bar), and a nice amount of outdoor seating. There was an Irish band last night that was kind of obnoxious, but apparently they also have live bluegrass music which sounds more enjoyable.

Beer selection is excellent, glassware is varied and appropriately used, bartenders know how to pour. Tried a number of Belgians I was unfamiliar with, and there was a good selection of Wisconsin brews on tap. Other parts of the US seemed underrepresented on the taps but plenty of stuff in bottles and a wide variety of styles.

Service would have been better if there had been more bartenders working, the two people behind the bar were running around constantly and I had to wait quite a while for service for my first couple of brews. Pricing was pretty reasonable, though there were plenty of rarer bottles on the menu that were way out of my price range.

This is definitely one of Madison's best beer bars, and its refreshing to see a place like this away from the downtown area. Wish it was closer to my place, but with summer coming I'm more likely to walk/bike a distance to get a drink, will definitely be a repeat customer.

johnkale, May 03, 2011
Photo of dunix
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

dunix, Jul 22, 2014
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The Malt House in Madison, WI
97 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.