Karben4 Brewing

Karben4 BrewingKarben4 Brewing
Karben4 BrewingKarben4 Brewing
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

3698 Kinsman Blvd
Madison, Wisconsin, 53704-2509
United States

(608) 241-4812 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 117 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Cool little brewpub in small industrial building on north side of Madison. Warehouse chic vibe with vinyl-topped L-shaped bar opposite the entry that seats about 20, with tables along the perimeter, and an outdoor patio. 16 well-assorted beers on tap, I had the Fantasy Factory and it was marvelous. Friendly bartender. (There is a promotion where if one goes to Next Door, One Barrel, and Karben4 in a day he or she get a can glass - I'm in.) Very laid back place, look forward to spending more time here in the future.

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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut, Sep 19, 2019
Photo of EspressoGuy
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Cool place. Nice change to have TCM movies on TV right over the bar. Friendly mix of locals working in the light industrial neighbourhood or and beer geeks. 12 house beers available on tap. The four I had were all very good (Dragon Flute APA, Chamomile Saison, Brett IPA) to great (double hopped IPA). Friendly staff. I would definitely go back to try more. Food menu is pretty good with a few interesting vegetarian options.

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EspressoGuy from British Columbia (Canada), Jun 01, 2018
Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

Great service, friendly people, 9 beers, no stout/porter though. Great beerwith several apa/ipas. Good lovation that needs more parking. Small souvenier station. Worth it

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Photo of Oconomowocian
3.87/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

They are in the old Ale Asylum space on the other side of the airport. Rather run of the mill tap room in a business park. Never tried their food. Beers are solid.

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Oconomowocian from Wisconsin, May 11, 2018
Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Long bar in a semi hipster warehouse place with large artwork on the walls. Beer was decent, but staff had to ask each other about the stats on the beers when I asked. Parking can be tough. Vibe lively.

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Photo of Billolick
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

love this place...great place to get some brews, pick up some bottles and have some chow....mid sized room...out side area (but closed when we visited)...friendly and fun staff...all the food we tried was fresh and tasty and all the beer was on point...was in town for a week and pretty sure I went at least 4 times with about 3 dif groups of people...casual and easy going athmosphere...just go

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Billolick from New York, Jul 10, 2016
Photo of Peepskp
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Excellent clean and trendy brew pub. Great decor, good food, and fantastic beer. A real up and comer in the microbrew scene. These guys know their beer!

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Peepskp from Wisconsin, Apr 15, 2016
Photo of zeff80
3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Odd, less than attractive neighborhood. Very industrial. Nice selection of good beer. They have some really fun snack foods for the kids. And games, too. I had a nice trip here. It was winter so there was no patio usage, but I imagine it would be great in the summer.

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zeff80 from Missouri, Jan 01, 2016
Photo of Bruce5
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75

First time since Ale Asylum moved out, Karben 4 is definitely a step up. Opened up the space, much better vibe and a decent food menu. I am a hops lover so this place is perfect, enjoy how they have balanced the hops with the malt flavors but beyond that the choices are limited.

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Bruce5 from Pennsylvania, Aug 24, 2015
Photo of EvilMidnightBomber
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've lived in Madison since before Karben4 opened, and I hadn't visited before tonight.
Enjoyed my visit, though, and will definitely be coming back. They were busy but not slammed, and the service at the bar was friendly and knowledgeable. Had a pizza and a flight consisting of everything they don't bottle, followed by a full glass of Idiot Farm which was really good. Second favorite beer was Under Cover, which I would not have guessed coming in.
If I have a complaint, it would be the lack of variety. Despite their claim of being malt focused, their beer menu is full of IPAs, and not much else. Oh, and they need a bigger bike rack.

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Photo of DaveAnderson
3.28/5  rDev -22.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Karben4 landed smack dab on one of my pet peeves. The hand soap is so strongly perfumed that I can't appreciate my beer. The smell is overwhelming, and makes it impossible to rate their beers

Terrible. I

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DaveAnderson from Minnesota, Jun 28, 2015
Photo of bound4er
4.08/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

My first visit here - enjoyed it quite a bit. Crowd was very chill - guessing in the 30 to 50 year old range. Nice bar that seats at least 20 - 25 people. Drank a Fantasy Factory IPA and a Dragon Flute PA. Both were very good. Had the pretzel app (excellent) and turkey sandwich on a pretzel roll (very good). Our two servers were great - attentive, helpful and fun. Only beef is my wife doesn't like hoppy beers and that is pretty much all they had available. It would have been nice if they had one stout, porter, Weiss or sour on tap.

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bound4er from Wisconsin, May 31, 2015
Photo of Austin32
4.08/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

I am lucky that this place is only about 7 min from my house. Godd vibe, love the layout of the bar and outdoor seating. They have excellent wall art. Music is a bit loud for my preference, and I'm not old.....but I had to yell at my wife sitting right next to me to talk. Free popcorn, very nice dishes, I recommend the deviled egg platter.

Beers are great, fantasy factory, deep winter coffee stout and Tokyo sauna on tap just to name a few. All and all a great place to catch a bite and a pint.

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Austin32 from Wisconsin, Apr 06, 2015
Photo of atone315
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Visited here on 2-28-15 as part of the Hop Head Beer Tour. Awesome spot, I could spend a day here just drinking their IPAs. Chill vibe, awesome music playing, will be a must visit every time I am in Madison.

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atone315 from Wisconsin, Mar 01, 2015
Photo of CraigTravor
3.39/5  rDev -20.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25

This place has a cool vibe. The owners and the workers were mostly nice. There was one terrible bartender who rubbed me and a lot of others patrons the wrong way.

I like the feel of this place, and they are doing some great things. I had a good time and wish them the best.

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CraigTravor from California, Jan 21, 2015
Photo of Hoolie5
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Read a lot about Karbern4 lately. Bought a sixer of the Fantasy Factory @ Woodman’s. It was awesome! So decided to make the trip to Madtown. Approximately one hour drive. Well worth it. The bartender(s) were very friendly and knowledgeable about the beer (encouraged me to try samples). Spoke with the wife of one of the brewers (owners). She gave me a little history on the evolution of Karben4. The atmosphere of this place makes you feel at home! Had some appetizers – just right! Sampled all the beers – All very good (would rate all of them in the upper 4 to 5 range)! If you plan on going there, bring along a cooler as you’ll need it to take a growler or two back home. Have been to all the breweries, brew pubs in Madison and would recommend this as a mandatory place to stop! THEIR BEER IS GOOD!

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Hoolie5 from Wisconsin, Nov 24, 2014
Photo of guityler83
4.25/5  rDev 0%

A great new spot with lots of potential.

We stopped in Karben4 on the way back from a hike at Devil's Lake. Very easy to find, near the Madison airport in a business park. Walking in, my immediate impression was "this place has to be well established" But it is a newer (1 year open?) brewery. The decor was modern with the gray and green color scheme, large canvas artwork on the walls. large polished wood bar - everything very clean.

Finding a spot at the bar was no problem, it was a Sunday evening so it wasn't extremely busy. From the bar we had a view of a couple of windows to see the brewing system and a bottling line that, the bartender later explained, would be used in the near future. The list of beers was 8 long with Fantasy Factory, Oaktoberfest, a Smoked Porter and a good mix of other beers to please most pallets.

I went with a flight of 4 varieties - Fantasy Factory was my favorite with its juicy mango flavor and aroma jumping out of the glass.. The Oaktoberfest (an white oak aged oktoberfest) was a perfect fall beer and was right behind FF. The food menu was top notch also. Homemade pretzel buns, curry soup and a very good vinaigrette dressing on a salad I normally would pass over.

The service was excellent and the bartender ended up being one of the four owners. He humored some of my questions on the name and the beers before we headed out. I would have liked to see more experimentation on there beers, but being so new I cant knock them for it. They need to dial in some main stays - And so far those are tasting mighty good.

Keep up the good work and I'll be looking forward to the future of Karben4

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guityler83 from Wisconsin, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of craft_shannie
4.01/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

an improvement to the ale aslyum set-up. indoor space is similiar, follows basic floorplan, but more open, lit. sat outside and enjoyed a full flight, plus a couple pints & meat & cheese plate. small patio, needs table umbrellas or some sort of shade from the full sun, as the building only offers shade to a handful of tables.

beers were good to great. really impressed w. the quality, craftsmanship. really, there wasnt a throw away beer in the bunch. service was pretty standard.

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Photo of wapcap
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Visited this place after dinner on my first trip to Madison. A pretty neat place inside. A good crowd for early evening. Seemed family friendly as there were a few families in there. Bar was packed. Their food is supposed to be good, and they have some local stuff. But I was there for the brews.
They were all around pretty good. Tried the Fantasy Factory (American IPA) and I cannot recall the 2nd one. Both were good though.
The building might be a little difficult to find as it does not look from the outside like a typical building. Look for 4 hexagons in a row, with one being a bright almost neon green.
Worth a visit in Madison!

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wapcap from Nebraska, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of embarrwesment
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in to see how the old ale asylum space was. Loved what i found. Granted it was soon after they opened and around midnight so it was fairly empty, but had a great time.

The bartender was very knowledgeable about all the beers despite not being a brewer. He even let us play a game to guess which paintings were inspired by which beers. One of my friends won and we all got a beer blended shot. Very nice!

The highlight for me was their barely-wine which makes sense because their brews tended toward malty / English style.

Loved the space and the staff. I would definitely stop in next time I'm in Madison and highly recommend it. Also very excited to see what they do going forward. Especially since i heard they're barrel aging.

Definitely worth the stop when you're in Madison.

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Photo of sisterthelonious
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Really great set-up. This was Ale Asylum a few years ago, but Karben4 has done a great job making the place their own.

Beers were all very good, not one off-flavor beer in the bunch that we tasted. In fact, I could have easily taken home a growler of 3 or 4 of them. They have seasonals and one-offs, which are always fun.

Food was tasty, and really nicely presented.

I will be going back here every time I am in Madison.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I had been reading quite a bit about Karben4 so was excited to pop in and see what the fellas had done to the old Ale Asylum space.
Like mentioned in the first review, the guys we met that night were extremely willing to tell us about what they had accomplished (feeling very prideful I would say), and showed us around behind the scenes. Looks like they are making good use out of the space...A little rearranging has given them more room for growth.
The beers were very solid. The smoked porter was excellent. Mild smoke, with a good amount of roast and chocolate character, very solid. The IPA was also excellent. A very good addition to the Madison brew scene. I wish these guys well, they were very kind and the beer was good.

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MarcatGSB from Michigan, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of Litrecola
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.75

Have to agree with MadTown22's review. Pretty spot on for what I thought of the place. They were very friendly and open to talks about their little place, behind the scenes, concept ideas and future beers. Looking very forward to seeing them grow into another Madison favourite. As they grow some of that may change as they might need larger staff but for now it's nice to chat with them.

Their beers are pretty solid. On their menu's they have nice descriptions of the beers available. Their session beer was pretty great and not usually something i'd go for but it stuck out. Second would have to be their Black IPA Silk Scorpion followed by their irish red which is a very nice complex flavoured beer. If you go definitely get a flight (which comes with only their flagships) and decide what you like the best. If you're there for the seasonal black IPA, definitely also get that.

Their food also stood out from what we saw. We tried the devilled eggs which were so good I could have order 2nds and 3rds, they come in 4 varieties, classic, garlic, ??? and pulled pork. Apologies for the ??? devilled egg, i remember it was sweet and heat. The preztel we saw (forget which local place provided it) looked interesting, it seemed to give an interesting take on the pretzel showing the range from the thin and chewy bits to the bulky and bread texture. One more thing was the open faced pulled pork sandwich we saw, with it's size it was hard to miss and something i definitely want to try next time i'm there!

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Litrecola from Manitoba (Canada), Feb 08, 2013
Photo of MadTown22
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Been into the brewpub a couple times since the soft-opening. Can't believe the new occupants of the Ale Asylum brewery.

Everyone at Karben4 will bend over backwards to make you feel welcome. Personal tours and behind-the-scenes stories are not an anomaly.

The four buddies renovated the old space to a sleek, modern pub. They doubled the bar seating to accommodate more patrons. The old audio system was updated to distribute laid back music throughout the entire bar without being overpowering.

Currently Karben4 has six beers on tap, they are planning to rotate seasonals into the lineup to keep things fresh. These guys are filling a niche missing in Madison--great down-to-earth, face to face service with a range of malty, unique, tasty beer everyone can enjoy.

Karben4 has some of the best beer in Madison, not found at any other bar. Highly recommended.

On a side note, they partner with Underground Meat Collective, meaning all food is local and high-quality, the open-faced BBQ pulled pork is delicious with a Silk Scorpion!

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MadTown22 from Wisconsin, Jan 20, 2013
Karben4 Brewing in Madison, WI
Brewery rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 1752 ratings