The Malt House

BA SCORE
98
world-class

65 Ratings
The Malt HouseThe Malt House
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

2609 E Washington Ave
Madison, Wisconsin, 53704-5025
United States

(608) 204-6258 | map
malthousetavern.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by DaPeculierDane on 06-29-2008

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
65
Reviews:
28
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
3.35%
 
 
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Ratings: 65 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of emerge077
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,072 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,427 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

a true midwestern vibe...right on East Wash, and totally unexpected...but inside, it is a glorious watering hole

112 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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

 1,881 characters

Photo of blackie
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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

 669 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of Todd
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of atone315
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Stopped here on Friday with a group of 7, sat at some tables in a chill corner. For a place that was as packed as it was, it was pretty damn relaxing. Craft beers and craft cocktails, there was something for everyone in our group. No food served here but I did see a few people bring food in and even saw a pizza delivered to a group sitting at the bar. Will definitely stop here every time we are in Madison.

 409 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 746 characters

Photo of CraigTravor
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of egrace84
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of djhowell
4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of twb0392
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of dunix
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of redleg411
5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Bruce5
4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 1

Photo of crobinso
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of barleywin
4.8/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Gotti311
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of cokes
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

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.

 2,272 characters

Photo of Soneast
4.75/5  rDev +6%

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The Malt House in Madison, WI
4.48 out of 5 based on 65 ratings.
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