Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
Active Beers: 58
Beer Ratings: 695
Beer Avg: 3.65
Taps: 12 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 140 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
2.5/5 rDev -40.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
Coming in to the downtown Great Dane, the indifference of the hostesses(3) was matched by the lack of a service person who showed about 5 minutes after seated.
The location of GD was good on the corner of the block with great wooden floors and expansive bar and seating (tables and booths). Was there when only about 25% full and was still deafeningly loud inside.
House beer selections did include a couple of cask conditioned which get points from me. However I found the cask conditioned English ale was lacking in both malt and hop flavours; would give ice tea a run for its money however. Also tried the award-winning Pecks Pilsner which was far superior to the german pilsner (which had no flavour) but was still a re-branded High Life, lacking any apparent hops.
The menu significantly lacked cheese choices for a Wisconsin establishment. Avoid the pretzels that look correct but are similar to hotdog buns in the inside. The Brats&Mash brought GD up to an acceptable only; brats being on par to a good breakfast sausage, and the mash potatoes being actual potatoes (not whipped). Salads were large but flavourless; maybe seasonality an issue on freshness.
This is not a destination pub. Trying visiting if in Madison for a few weeks.
05-30-2007 20:49:02 | More by Niniimaa
3.54/5 rDev -16.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This is my first review of the Dane, even though I have gone their about 8 times over the past 10 years. I used to be impressed with the Dane. In fact, the wife and I took a weekend trip up to Madison in part because of my past respect for the Dane. However, I tried 8 of their 14 beers on tap and was not inspired to order a pint of any of them.
The first dissapointment was seeing that out of 14 beers, they had nothing bigger than a rather modest Scotch Ale. The suppossedly german hefeweizen was thin, overly citrusy and lacked much bannana-clove. If they would have called it a Wit I would have been more impressed. The Belgian pale was way over hopped for the style and lacked any notable belgian qualities. The Octoberfest was only average and lacking the big malt profile. The Speedbump IPA and Potters Run IPA were largely indistinguishable and more like a good pale than American IPAs. The Devils Lake Red Lager had a very pleasing creamy moutfeel but not much going on tastewise other than a more than expected hoppiness. The Cascade Porter was a good solid porter with notable hop qualities. The Stone of Scone scotch was also pretty good but not a wee-heavy by any means. Both the porter and scotch were worthy of full pints, but with Come-back-Inn and Maduro still before us, I was hoping to (and did) find beers more worthy.
The atmosphere and service were good, and I have enjoyed their food in the past. I will still hit the Dane when I'm in town and hopefully they will have something more interesting. But I won't consider them a destination worthy of a road trip as I have in the past.
10-08-2006 21:06:35 | More by Tbone
3.63/5 rDev -14.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
On our way to Darkness Day we stopped in Madison for a quick lunch. Smack in the middle of downtown Madison, a quaint little spot. The bar itself is the typical look of a brewpub, nothing special, however its huge so shouldn't have any trouble getting a table. The pub has 9 regulars which is really solid and 7 seasonal's available which is awesome. The regulars are way to light beer have with 2 pilsners and a couple lagers, you can tell they are catering to the college crowd. Our server was moderately helpful. Seemed to busy for his, took awhile to get him to even get us water. I asked him for a four beer sampler, his choices and he brought be a pretty solid lineup. The quality of the beers was a bit lacking, nothing really stood out as a great beer, so in that sense I was disappointed because it wasn't anymore than the typical beers you get at a local place.
Worth stopping at if your in Madison but not a destination. A great stepping stone pub for non-craft beer drinkers to put them down that path, perfect location in a big college town.
10-25-2010 02:22:06 | More by jrallen34
3.63/5 rDev -14.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I never like it when I have been to some place once and have a negative experience and then review it. But this is my circumstance with the downtown location of Great Dane. Most things went well, beers (most) were good, food was good, place is nice, but our service in a nutshell sucked. Our waitress was VERY inattentive and quite short with us...she was just plain bad...should have caught her name but didnt.
Great Dane Brewing Company is located in an old corner hotel building, and has retained much of the historical charm on both the interior and exterior. It is just one block down from the capitol building, which sat up on the hill, well lit and rising above all other buildings.
We ordered four beers from the selection of 15 (two of which were on cask and having cask is ALWAYS a BIG plus) along with dinner. C was highly interested in the IPA, which on the printed menu, stated that the style varies from time to time - sometimes an English IPA, sometimes an American IPA. So as instructed, C asked the server. She was terribly confused by the question and couldn't really help answer, so she just ordered it. We assumed something called Texas Speedbump IPA would probably be American, and it was. In fact, it was a very solid IPA - extremely hop forward with a strong citrus nose and powerful hop flavor.
The other beer C had was Black Watch Scottish Ale on cask, and this was a deep copper color with an incredibly smoky finish. The smoke flavor was too much for her, and she gave this one up to me.
C's trade was for his Black Earth Porter, which also had a smokiness to it - a sort of burnt malt quality, but found it to be more smooth and drinkable than the Scottish.
My other choice was the English Special Ale on cask, which disappointed quite a bit. It was a dull choice, and the beer delivered on that note. There was very little suggestion of hop flavor, which was balanced with the lack of malt body.
The menu looked good and although our waitress never filled us in on the specials, I feel we made good choices.
C had a nice salad with fresh mozzarella and asparagus and I had the Brats & Mashers, which were a pair of beer-and-onion-marinated bratwurst over Scotch Ale sauerkraut with smashed red potatoes and hot apple "sauce" (which was really super-cooked apple chunks with cinnamon...)
Great Dane is certainly a place we'd like to try again - maybe with a different waitress or at one of the other two locations we will have an improved experience. As I said, it wasn't awful, but the experience didn't give me the warm fuzzies!
04-01-2008 11:44:44 | More by Deuane
3.7/5 rDev -12.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I've visited the local Madison Great Dane on multiple occasions. Saturday night is definitely the night that is packed! Friday can also get very busy.
What I love about this place are the 3 different "bars" within this place. 2 upstairs and 1 downstairs. It's a great place to get a beer and some good food. Their burgers are very good. If you are visiting town, definitely try the cheese curds or the Nachos. The Nachos rock.
The quality and selection are near unsurpassable. The beer that is served is served in the proper glass.
The downside is the service. I've had horrible service. In the past 2 weeks, I've had more than a few beers that have not been filled (seems to be a current trend). I've sent them back. The waitresses are usually decent at knowing the beers, but their attitude is generally pretty horrible.
All in all, I still love this place, but try to go when it's not so busy.
09-15-2008 03:42:51 | More by wardough
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) in Madison, WI
94 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.