Brennan's Market

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Brennan's MarketBrennan's Market
13 Ratings
Brennan's MarketBrennan's Market

Type: Store

5533 University Ave
Madison, Wisconsin, 53705-1234
United States

(608) 233-2777 | map

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Added by cokes

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Ratings: 13 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of Ri0
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of bpfrush
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of TX-Badger
3.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of williamjbauer
3/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Stevedore
3/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.65/5  rDev +10.6%

While this place isn't probably the go to place for the traveler looking for Great Lakes beers, this place on the flip side has a great variation of beers I haven't seen anywhere else and in doing so, allow singles. This gets big points for this local, because its like going on a beer trip without going on one. The don't have much for high end stuff, and service was ok but not great. I enjoy stopping at this place because I joke you never know what you'll find here. Beers I might have never tried were the El Toro IPA, Hales Winter Ale, and some beers from some small Colorado breweries... many of their beers seem to come from the northwestern part of the country.

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Photo of bonk0076
2.55/5  rDev -22.7%

Super cold, I think they forgot to turn on the heat. This store has waaayy too many mediocre Western Craft brands. The only redeeming quality in this is that they have a lot of Flying Dog and wayyy more Avery than any other store I've ever been to. And I love Avery and Flying Dog. Just seemed a little weird. Extremely disorganized cooler. I think they had New Glarus packages in five different places. The only time I'm ever going to be back is when I want to pick up some Avery. I know they'll have it.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.55/5  rDev +7.6%

On my second trip to Madison I stumbled upon Brennan's in search of some bread to go with the cheese I'd picked up at Steve's Wines. The immediate entry area was full of produce (some good, some bad.. wilted) with bread, and a variety of other items - and at varying prices, but for the most part OK. Oddly, some items were priced high, while others were low; and that seemed to carry throughout the store. Champagne and red wine were even mixed in throughout the displays. But the next room offered what I was looking for, bread... and cheese! Of course, the cheese I got at Steve's was a little more interesting, but I did pick up a few additional notches anyway. Gotta love Wisconsin cheese! I thought about wine, but then, lo and behold, BEER! LOTS OF BEER! AND.... (wait for it) ... ... SINGLE BOTTLES!!! CA-CHING!!! The selection was wide, and included beers that I hadn't seen anywhere else (Steve's Liquors, Steve's Wines, Riley's, Copp's, Cub Foods, etc). The Steve's Wines right down the street had a good selection of Pacific Northwest beers, but these were semi-local mid-west/central- Iowa, for example, and Colorado. Very nice selection. Mainly domestic. And they have two beers made for them by Capital. There was a seafood selection that was fairly well stocked, but kind of pricey - although I must say a lot of it was sushi type items that are more expensive so I can't fault them there. There were tons of odd and unique items as well; and a decent, but limited selection of liquor. The service was inadequate, however, and I had to wait in three different lanes before I was able to checked-out. The manager who had stepped in to help did apologize though. But to top that off, my girlfriend had a question about an item and he couldn't answer - in fact, he had no clue. ?shrugs? I'd experienced the same with someone else regarding a cheese earlier. Cest la vie. I'd still go back for the beer selection, the fairly good cheese selection, and the cheap vino (if I was in the mood). Oh, and I want to get one of those paper mache Wisconsin Beavers for $20.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.8/5  rDev +15.2%

finally got to this place today in the midst of the heaviest snowfall of the year...i've been out in middleton for work this week and this is on the way back downtown, off university ave

i walked in through the fruit and produce section...also a great selection of chesse, other dairy products, and meats.

then there is the beer, which caught me completely off guard. when people said that there was stuff they had never seen elsewhere, i figured they meant a couple different brands. boy was i wrong, there was a massive amount of beer i didn't even know existed!

focus was definitely domestic, there was maybe a few german imports and that was it for craft imports. the wisconin breweries were fairly well represented but not like they are at rileys/woodmans/steves. as previously mentioned, its the rather odd selection of western beers (primarily colorado, wyoming, california) that make this place. they had a full stock of about every avery bomber/one-off/basic line and practically every great divide beer from the esb to the oak aged yeti. there is an endless supply of singles from obscure (to me at least) rocky mountain breweries. most of the brands in the previous review were well represented still.

dont expect to find stuff like new belgium or alesmith or anything like that...most of the beers are not big beers either. they had a great selection of american stouts i had never seen though.

prices on old jubilation and hibernation 6 packs were a few dollars cheaper than elsewhere

didnt interact with employees, but i think the sausage i bought cost more than a mixed 6 pack (may have been a price error)

will return in the next few days

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.45/5  rDev +4.5%

There are several Brennan's stores in Madison. The ones I've been to seem to have very similar selections. Brennan's specializes in beers from out west, specifically Colorado. Threre is a small selection of imports, but nothing exciting. The Wisconsin beer selection is decent, but not unique. The western beers, however, include many which I have not seen anywhere else in the area. The selection includes El Toro, Avery, Snake River, Great Divide, Yellowstone Valley, Estes Park, Flying Dog, Fort Collins, and more.

There is one reason, however, I don't buy much beer at Brennan's. Much of the selection seems to be quite old. I've gotten bottles that were way past their prime. It's always a gamble, but you may want to stop by and pick up some Snake River Zonker Stout and some El Toro IPA, both of which were pretty tasty. Also, Capital makes a couple beers especially for Brennan's, and these beers are usually fresh. Brennan's selection of cheese and produce is pretty good too.

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Photo of SCW
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Let's face it, the selection here is nothing to write home about. But it's worth writing on BeerAdvocate about...

Most of the beer here is domestic. There is a pretty impressive selection of domestic micros, but a lot of them are not that rare. You'll find stuff like Flying Dog, Bell's, Three Floyds, Red Seal, etc. These micros are all cranking out tens of thousands of barrels per year.

What's impressive about this place is the cheese, produce, and bread. The knowledgeable sales staff will help you pair the beer or wine you purchase with the proper cheese. It's a very clean, well-kept family run business.

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Photo of bditty187
2.5/5  rDev -24.2%

Brennan's is a mom-n-pop grocery store. I visited this place because our waiter at Angelic Brewpub suggested it to us as a great place to buy cheese, it is Wisconsin right? I was shocked when I saw tons of beer! Yes! Multiple coolers were packed with six-packs and singles. A table-like display had a “build your own six pack” feature with warm singles. I’ve never seen many of these beers before. The stuff was mainly CO, MN, WI, and KS micros… Kansas? Yes, they carried beer from a brewery that had been closed since 2001… and it wasn’t vintage stuff either. I looked closer at the beers; many were well past there “best by” dates (as in years past). So I put all the beer back aside from Hibernation Ale. It is hard to trust a place like this.

Every non-beer related feature about this store was great, from cheese to fruit to wine to service. But if you want beer, this is not the place to visit.

Would I go back? Yes, for the food, not for the beer. If the selection were healthy I’d have no qualms with digging in. Don’t stop for the beer.

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Photo of cokes
2.6/5  rDev -21.2%

An oddball beer store in Madison. I would bet that quite a few people are not even aware that it sells beer, since it does nothing to market the fact.

The focus here is on obscure (and not so obscure) Rocky Mountain area breweries. Lots of different stuff to try, and stuff that is not available anywhere else in town.
The mix and match 6pack deals are the only way to go.

Fact: A good deal of the beer is past its prime...and often totally spoiled. It is just not a place that really seems to devote any attention to its beer....a shame, because there is alot of unique and unheralded stuff here. Staff is not beer savvy in the least. They don't seem to care when outdated beer is brought to their attention.

Worth a stop just for the selection. Be be forewarned
....Maybe if more people shopped here.

Great produce and cheese place, though. Stop by if that sort of thing peaks your interest. Beer...not so much.

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Brennan's Market in Madison, WI
Place rating: 3.3 out of 5 with 13 ratings