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The Malt House

Not Rated.
The Malt HouseThe Malt House
BA SCORE
98
world-class

47 Ratings
Ratings: 47
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: 47 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%

Ventured over here on foot after visiting Alchemy on Atwood. Located in a somewhat desolate area, across from a rather shady "adult emporium". Large Chimay sign outside was a clue to the quality beer to be had inside.

There were some exclusive taps here for the Great Taste weekend, such as Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam, O'so imperial Saison, and Grumpy Troll Maggie IPA. Other local craft options and Belgians too. Big chalkboard in back listed the taps. Vast bottle selection here, something for everyone. The interior was larger than I expected, low drop ceiling, wood paneling on the side walls. We only stopped in for a couple rounds, but I noticed plenty of beer decor, like De Dolle posters, and a few other scattered signs. Lots of tables and chairs, they also had some cheese plates out on the bar, that was a nice touch. Sid the bartender was really great, friendly and helpful even when it was busy.

I'd go back sometime to see what was new on tap.

2009 edit: Malt House is consistently solid, i'd recommend them over Brasserie V if you're looking for Belgians.

emerge077, Aug 11, 2008
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 26, 2010
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 05, 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 Todd
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Todd, Nov 21, 2014
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 CraigTravor
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

CraigTravor, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

bpfrush, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of dunix
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

dunix, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of Gotti311
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Gotti311, Jun 17, 2014
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 egrace84
4/5  rDev -10.5%

egrace84, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of jwenzel019
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

jwenzel019, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

BarrelAgedG, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of slyke
4.74/5  rDev +6%

Hard to find a fault with this place. You walk in and find a old tavern/dive bar look, but I'm from this part of the country so that doesn't bother me. There are no TVs or games that make noise to distract you from the main attraction - a great beer and whiskey selection.

18 taps evenly split between Belgian and local beers. Service was friendly and efficient, not much more to ask for. All the beers were served in either logo glassware that matched your beer or the proper shape of glass for the style and the lone employee was serious about that telling one customer they'd have to wait for a certain beer because all of the proper glasses were being used.

There is no kitchen, but this place was awesome enough that when my wife asked about dinner, I thought about suggesting the bags of Doritos and Funions at the end of the bar. The bartender suggested a good Thai place nearby. This place is must-stop when visiting Madison.

slyke, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.64/5  rDev +3.8%

First things first...if you're coming from the west (E. Washington), you'll need to make a 3-point turn or turn left from the right lane whilst checking your blind spot to get into the parking lot. There is also a bike rack out front.

A-Very good atmosphere, dimly lit but you get some good sunlight through the windows sometimes. Tunes playing on the computer behind the bar, no TV, good conversation, diverse and interesting clientele.

Q&S-Top notch local and internat'l brews on tap and available in bottles. Always a quickly rotating batch of Belgians with a couple of regulars that seem to get re-ordered. I don't know how many of the bottles on the list are actually in-stock, but I've never had to find out because the tap selection is broad enough to keep me happy.

S-Probably the best bar service I've ever had in any establishment. They are quick to react, always get the right order, are very knowledgeable, polite, and pleasant.

V-Prices are comparable and probably slightly better than most other places of similar quality.

If you're in Madison, stop by here. It's just south off Hwy. 30, but a lot of people familiar w/the area don't even know it's here because it is rather new and unassuming.

BoitSansSoif, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

BarrytheBear, Jan 05, 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 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 nchrist13
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%

this is my local (for the next few months). great tap list, everything is fairly priced but of course there are some serious heavy hitters so that doesn't mean it's cheap. really this is the best bar in town for belgians, and there are other places that have as much american stuff that they do, but the entire beer list is just really well put together here. if you have a car and are in madison, there's no excuse to miss this place, and not having a car isn't a good excuse either. the madison in half a day tour would hit ale asylum, malt house, maduro and the memorial union. there's no food here, but you're free to order in.

not the most beautiful part of madison. that doesn't mean it's a bad neighborhood, it's not, but it ain't all that pretty. but there are a couple other places near to visit, and as you get towards the atwood neighborhood it's more frou-frou. plus there's a porno shop kitty corner that always seems to be on the news for getting robbed. NO TVS, which is a plus, just don't expect to be able to catch a game here. for that, go to dexter's.

nchrist13, Jan 10, 2009
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 Ek0nomik
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

I stopped here a few times over the Summer to grab a drink with my girlfriend. I had heard that this place was all about beer, which sounded right up my alley. There's no music, no television and no games. Awesome. (Well, I wouldn't background music so long as it's quiet) This is my kinda place.

We browsed through their bottle and tap selection which was pretty extensive and made our choices. Good pour, good serving temperature and both good beers. I don't visit bars very much simply because it's too expensive, but this place is one that's worth visiting for sure.

If you're coming to Madison and need a place to grab a drink, check this place out.

Ek0nomik, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of BeerDazed
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

BeerDazed, Jul 15, 2014
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
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The Malt House in Madison, WI
98 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.