Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

BEER AVG
3.69/5
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

123 E. Doty St.
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703
United States

(608) 284-0000 | map
greatdanepub.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
68
Ratings:
931
Reviews:
351
PLACE STATS
Score:
93
Ratings:
180
Reviews:
112
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
6.65%
 
 
Taps:
12
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 180 |  Reviews: 112
Photo of zeff80
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Ventured into the Great Dane for lunch on 12/30. I love the atmosphere. Beautiful bar in the main room. Behind that is the pool hall and another great bar. Downstairs the atmosphere is even better, a U-shaped bar with exposed brick and stone walls. The service was good. I talked to the bartenders in the pool hall half, and they were great. I asked if they'd fill a foreign growler and they said they would because "a glass container is a glass container." The selection is pretty large, 8 or so regular beers and 4 or 5 seasonals. The beers that I had were quite good. The Barrister's Brown was on cask and delicious. The Texas Speedbump IPA was even better. The food was great, too. Fried cheese curds for an appetizer and a Baja Burger were both amazing. This is a really great place to visit. A must see in Madison.

 820 characters

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.25/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'm reviewing the downtown Dane.

This is my and my wifes favorite place to go for a good meal and beer for any taste that day. We like it so much we had our rehearsal dinner downstairs at the downtown location.

The food is always tasty, but a few of there dishes do get expensive, but the ingredients are great too. I have about 3 favorite dishes there that I will just crave sometimes.

The beer is very good as well! I love that there are always 10+beers on tap. I can go in there with no idea of what I want and then something hits me and they more than likely have it on tap. And every once and while a gem pops up too. I was in there like 2 years ago and on a random Wednesday I was lucky enough to try there '05 Barleywine!

I'd stop in if you have a free hour or two on your way through town!

 805 characters

Photo of spointon
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I visited this place on 11/28/2008.

My wife and I went to Madison on an overnight beer trip to Madison and decided to try this for dinner on Friday night.

The atmosphere is way cool, as this place is located in an old bank building with lots of exposed brick, wood, and some great tilework and chandeliers. Being an old re-used building, there are lots of different rooms and spaces in this bar. Upon entering you have the choice of going left into the main bar room, right into a large dining room or down the stairs to the rathskellar where there is another bar, the breweries serving tanks, and the restrooms.

As I mentioned we visited on a Friday night, but were still seated within 10 minutes or so. The service throughout the evening was decently good but not great. No major complaints though.

The food was pretty solid and fairly priced. I got the fish and chips (excellent) and my wife got the Thai pizza (ok but nothing to brag on). I will say, the portions were huge though!

The beer selection was outstanding. They had 15 or so beers on tap (all brewed in-house). Between the wife and I, we tried five different beers over the course of a couple hours and three were good and two were exceptional.

I will surely be going back to Madison soon and I will surely visit the Great Dane again (and again).

 1,318 characters

Photo of wardough
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

 904 characters

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been here twice during my visit to Madison, both at low volume times of the day. I hear from my friend that this place gets to be PACKED on the weekends. I am not so much a fan of the sardine feeling, so I am happy to go during the afternoon on a weekday.

The Great Dane is expansive, with three separate rooms and a patio or beer garden. One room seems strictly for dining, one is a mix of bar / dining, and the third is the game room / bar / lounge. They have four pool tables? I think that's true...and they have a shuffleboard table. Let's just say that there is lots to do here.

And lots to drink! They have a good selection for a microbrewery; something for everyone it seems. For the frat boys and girls who like to wash down their burgers with something more alcoholic than water, they have their signature "lite" beer. For the beer nerd who wants something with character, they have the wheatwine. Well, at least right now they do. The porter is a staple of their regular selection though, and it is very robust; more so than the stout! So if you go there hoping for big and bold, and it turns out that the wheatwine is gone, take the porter.

They also like to experiment. Ned's Red was an amazing approximation of a Belgian Red that did not use wild yeast. They got the texture right, and the smell was incredible. They brewed it with loads of sour cherries and oak chips to impart a similar flavor, but without much "funk". A good beer to break someone into the funky beers.

I ordered the nachos, and they were very good! The service was good and friendly. The price was just as friendly too.

 1,614 characters

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited on Friday August 1, 6pm. Arrived to a wait outside, but our big table of 8 was somehow ready. Very nice old brick building in downtown Madison. The main bar area was just inside the front door, with another bar and huge room off to the left. We sat in the right-side room, which had several tables.

I got the 6 beer sampler. 2 different pilsner, porter, ipa, wheat wine and cask scotch. The porter and wheat wine were very good while the ipa was non-carbonated and flat. And I'm sure it wasn't a cask offering either...strange. Wheat wine was so good that I ordered a tulip of it. Brother in-law got the sour cherry which was very good. Overall, there were 15 or so different styles of beer, nice!

Service was very good. Both the beer and food came fast, and the place was packed. We got the pretzels and cheese curds as an appetizer, both really good. 4 of us got the Friday fish fry, which was just ok. Pretty greasy and bready.

Walked around a little, and saw pool tables and dart boards in the big room on the left. Went out back and saw one of the cooler patios in recent memory. Wedged in between 2 buildings, pretty brick and tons of tree shade.

 1,163 characters

Photo of frazbri
4/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

My first visit to the Great Dane was Friday before the Great Taste. We started off in the dining area for a little snack and a pint. It was a comfortable, casual place for a meal.

After our first round and a bite, we moved to the pool hall section. I really liked the vibe. It's the type of place you can gather with friends, play pool or shuffle board, converse and drink a few good beers.

There also is a downstairs bar and patio out back which I didn't really explore.

I was really impressed with the service in the pool hall. There were two servers working the room and both were attentive and friendly.

The beer list went about 12 deep. I started with the scotch ale. It had a nice peat-smoked flavor that really gave it some depth. The hefe was a solid bavarian style wheat as well. There were selections availble from across the beer spectrum.

I liked it. It would be a good choice for a meal or hanging out.

 920 characters

Photo of MDekker
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I had a quick dinner here while at a conference. The place had a thorough beer selection, with a decent number of lagers, all well described on the newspaper-like menu I was given. I had a pint of Peck's Pilsner, which I enjoyed, although it wasn't spectacular. The burger I had was great. I might stop there once more before I go. The service was good, and although I didn't see the whole place, it was interesting, with mentions of the history of the building on the menu. Being in downtown Madison is a plus, too, and it's given me a great one-day impression.

 562 characters

Photo of Ig0r
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I actually just found this place walking around in the evening with a group of people, the "BREW PUB" neon sign on the corner of the building was hard to miss and would be difficult to pass-up.

The feel inside is well-worn dark wood all around. There are a few pool tables and a shuffleboard table (which I was very surprised to see). There were over a dozen custom brews on tap when I was there. I had a pils, a hefeweizen, an amber, and even a taste of their wheatwine. Overall the beers were not too remarkable but not bad in any way. The wheatwine was pretty unique, though.

It was pretty busy the evenings when I was there, so the service was not quick but the bartenders didn't leave anyone waiting around.

For the beer and the atmosphere, I would go back if I had the chance. Also, compared to most other similar places I've been, the prices here were great!

 868 characters

Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This was my last stop in my beer tour of Madison. A quick walk from Maduro, and I was sitting in a truly awesome brew pub. This place has a very nice English feel to it.

Four firkins sitting behind the bar, but only one was pouring that night. They also had three hand pumps. I ordered up a sampler of their beers, and for the first time ever, I actually had to limit how many of their house beers I ordered. They had 15 different beers on tap, so I chose 10 that appealed to me the most. All were quality beers. Old Glory APA, Esmerald, Ned's Red, New Peculior, Trip-pepper pils, Black Earth, etc.

I ordered up the house nachos, and man oh man were they good. They were served with home made salsa that was just out of this world. I can safely say they were the best nachos I have ever had. This place seemed like a very popular local hang out, and it's easy to see why.

Overall, God I loved this place. I'm pretty sure I could kill and entire afternoon and night here. If I lived next door to this place, I don't think I would ever leave. And I'll count down the days until I get to come back here.

The only negative thing I can say about the Dane is that the bathroom is downstairs. As I've said many times before, alcohol and steps don't mix. But at least it gets you up and walking I guess.

 1,302 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Recently stopped here during the GTOM pre-ticket sale pub crawl.

There are 2 separate bars, this time I was at the one "downstairs" in the area with the pool tables. Service was good at the bar, they had several house beers available on cask. I tried a mild IPA "Texas Speedbump" (guessing Amarillo, rhymes with armadillo?) and a cask bitter. Neither were especially exciting, but served at proper temp in an imperial pint. The far & away winner was the Black Earth Porter.

Atmosphere was ok, i've been several times before, and it's usually crowded. There seemed to be a wedding or prom party there at the same time. Suits and children around. It was a big enough place that we all stayed out of each others way. I'll go back to eat here again, and to get more porter...

 775 characters

Photo of mynie
3.83/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Nice location, very pretty building. The pink neon BREW PUB sign is pure class.

The layout is nice but the atmosphere is like just about every other newly modeled brewpub you come across in the midwest, made to cater to the FM-radio crowd of twentysomethings who have mediocre taste in everything but beer. Big sportsbar TVs, soulessly lacquered bars and tabletops, intolerable classic rokck getting blasted at all volumes, and bunch of drunken fratboys.

The staff were superfriendly, though. Quite competent to boot. The beer selection was *massive*, although they were nothing but house beers, no guest taps. The four beers I sampled ranged from Solidly Good to Top Notch.

As reasonably priced and delicious as was the beer, the food really wasn't nothing to write home about. Standard pub fare, cooked and served with little flare or panache. Granted, I don't expect very much out of a hamburger, but it just wasn't that great. I dunno--maybe the beef wasn't that high of a grade or something. Still, it wasn't bad. Just not great.

Wonderfully priced. Most beers come in full 20-oz imperial pints for only 3.50. Growlers were 13 including a 4 dolllar bottle fee. Might be a bit nicer in the afternoons, when it's not so packed.

 1,237 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
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!

 2,566 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

On arecent trip to Madison with some friends we stopped in a for a few pints and some dinner at the Great Dane. It was a very good choice. I've been there before and I must admit it seems to get better each time. The atmosphere walking in was inviting and active. It has very attractive furniture, lighting and decorative signage. For the price the beer and food are without a doubt of the finest quality I've experienced in Madison. The two hostesses were not the most engaging as I requested a table but the waitress made up for their lack in social awareness. The selection on the beer menu made for a tough choise. The food menu wasn't any easier. They have a wide array of beer and food to choose from. I indulged in two pints of the Oktoppelbock and even I liked it so much I brought a growler home. (I tapped into that last night with WJVII and we finished it off in no time at all.) For dinner at the GD I had a cheeseburger with fries. It was a fantastic burger. I'll certainly be back.

 995 characters

Photo of WJVII
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

After going to Ale Asylum while in Madison we made our way to Great Dane to have some more brews and some food.

The first thing I noticed was the size of this establishment, it was a big bar/brewpub. And it was around 2pm on Saturday and this place was packed (yet we still were seated immediately). Our server was very friendly (and knowledgeable) making small talk and joking about my BA friend and my wife leaving right away when we got to our seats (they went to the powder room). The menu was big (almost too much to choose from) and the beer selection was great. It appears that they have 9 year round brews and they had 7 other "seasonal" brews.

We had some chow, nothing special to note, and had some brews (see my reviews in the next few days as I took notes and brought some home).

The only thing that I was upset about was the growler I purchased. They had some really cool ones on display and when they brought ours out they were just generic ones and we came to find the "nicer" ones were $35.

Side note our server let us know which beers would last a few days in the growler as we wanted some that were hand drawn and would have not made the trip back to Point...way to have well trained staff!!!

 1,217 characters

Photo of drseamus
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

It seems to be a theme in Madison that the bartenders and waitresses are very cute. I will not argue with that. They are also very nice and helpful. I ordered the Great Dane burger and it was damn tasty. It comes served on a pretzel roll which is very interesting and a nice touch.

The beer menu is slanted pretty heavily toward a german style, which makes sense given where I am. I ordered a Black Watch Scotch Ale on cask and a Texas Speedbump IPA on draft. Both were pretty good and very clear which I like to see. All in all, a great place to go for good food and drink.

 575 characters

Photo of iron78
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The must go to beer stop in Madison. Large corner building. One side has bar with games and tv's. Up a few steps you have another bar and dining area. Pretty laid back with a good mix of people. I feel comfortable knocking back a beer or two when i'm in jeans and a sweatshirt or coat and tie.

Beer is always good. They have the standard brews but I can always find something new that I like. A great selection of styles. If you like cask ales, check it out.

Service is usually effecient and quick.

Shouldn't drink beer in Madison and not go here.

 550 characters

Photo of Atron67
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A- there is a very relaxed atmosphere at the great dane which makes it very nice. at night it gets very busy though so i usually dont stick around.

Q- pretty solid all around for quality, the beers are all solid. the food is all solid.

S- the workers are usually very helpful and quick, etc.. nothing special but definitely good.

S- their selection is good, my favorite is the porter shake that they sell. delicious. good round base of year round beers. solid food.

V- decent prices, its not expensive, nor cheap.

 517 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Beer: Most brews are at least a little above average for their respective styles, can always find a few styles that are very good to really good. The beer selection is very good. About 8 or so staples, 3 or 4 brew picks, and usually a couple on cask! I really enjoy their beer. Take home growlers are nice too.

Food: A wide ranging menu, I would order everything I have ever had again. My favorites: brats and mashed, the jambalaya, southwest tortellini. If you're looking for something lighter definitely get the brewmaster's grilled cheese with bacon. (Yes that is lighter fare, this is Wisconsin after all.)

Service: I've always been pleased with the service, even when the bar is busy.

Atmosphere: A good mix of people, I don't find myself getting annoyed with people, which is a good thing.

If you're in Madison, be sure to check out one of their three locations, the downtown being the best. If you're eating and it's nice, ask to sit on the patio in the downtown location. If you're drinking go downstairs,

 1,017 characters

Photo of RECiPE
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Spent a few days in Madison for meetings. Managed to find my way here after one of them.

Hostess didn't bother to greet me when I entered. No bother, I'd prefer to sit at the bar. Asked the bartender what was on tap. He directed me to some signs on the wall that I could hardly read. Asked him for whatever IPA they had (It happened to be their Texas Speedbump, or something like that). They list soft pretzels on the menu. The bartender didn't think they made them. I wasn't interested in a microwaved Superpretzel. So I ordered a hamburger. Fries were crispy, just like I ordered them. Washed it all down with a Peck's Pilsner.

If I return to Madison, I'll go back to the Great Dane.

 687 characters

Photo of Rennpferd
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My Girlfriend and I made a trip out to Madison and this was the only planned dinning and drinking destination.

They had a nice selection of beer. In my opinion you will find a beer on tap that you will enjoy. I mixed it up and enjoyed three beers and a good portion of my Girlfriends.

The food was good, but I felt a little over priced for being simple bar cuisine. That could have just been Madison pricing however. I am not to familiar with the city and the dining costs. However in Milwaukee or Racine I would not have payed that price for the food.

I really really enjoyed the fact that the Great Dane is smoke free. A few smokers were running their mouths about it. But I really enjoyed not eating or drinking in a gray haze of smelly smoke.

It seemed like the wait staff was a little under-manned. The service was good and my pint was never empty. However you could tell that the staff was really being pushed to the limits. If my Girlfriend and I would have been in a little bit of a hurry and not planning on just chilling and tasting beer; waiting for our meal would have been an issue.

Over-all I highly recommend the Great Dane. If you are going to be in Madison the Dane is by far the best bar in the city.

 1,224 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My girlfriend and I hit this place up a couple times while in Madison over the weekend. The atmosphere was very welcoming for a place with such wonderful beers. There is a lot of wood and exposed brick all over the place. I really like how the bar and dinning areas are separated by half walls and columns, instead of being closed off from one another. It allows for an open yet intimate feel. The service was good on both visits, and the staff was able to provide nice descriptions of the beers. Selection was pretty good for a brewpub. They had ten beers on tap, and two on cask. Those twelve beers were a nice mix of both ales and lagers, malty styles and hoppy ones, and light bodied beers and heavy ones. I really likes how they had both a German and a Czech pilsener on tap. The porter was excellent, but the dark mild on cask was the best (very floral and roasty). The food was good on both stops. I like how the portions are smaller than you will find in most American restaurants (the prices are smaller as well). I was able to finish everything on my plate without feeling ill, and with enough room left in my belly for another beer. Overall, The Great Dane is a place I would go out of the way to visit. The beer, the food, and the atmosphere are all top notch.

 1,272 characters

Photo of kdog630
4/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Hit this place every time we get to Madison. Stopped here twice while in Madison for the Ironman. (Not competing, of course.) Had dinner in their beer garden. Average pub fare. Good hot wings. Habanero sauce is only for the very brave.

Enjoyed their APA and Mrs. Kdog had the cream ale. She thought it complemented her meal well. Server was moderately attentive, but the place was really starting to pick up. We arrived around 7:30 and by 8:00 it was humming throughout.

Went back the next night (Sunday) after my friend finished and there wasn't too much going on. Went to the basement bar that was like going in a cave. The bartender said it had been a horse paddock back at the turn of the 20th century. He was very knowledgeable about the beers on tap, made a few recommendations and gave me a few tastes of their selection. Had the Texas IPA out of their beer engine. A pretty good choice.

 896 characters

Photo of botham
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

stopped here for lunch on a brewery loop of southern wisconsin. they have some decent brews, nothing to get real excited about, but their beer garden is great. it is basically an outdoor patio sunken into the ground, making it rather quiet and calm. tastings are free, and several sizes of servings make it easy to hone in on your favorite and order a pint. around 10 brews to choose from when i visited, so there is something for every taste (their porter was great!). the wait staff was very friendly and accomodating. food was a bit over mediocre.

 550 characters

Photo of rarevos
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Had the pleasure of stopping in here on a recent trip to Madison, and it was well worth the half-hour wait to get a table.

Started the night off with a cask ale, a rarity any place in my travels. Had the Extra Pale Ale on cask while we waited for a table, which was surprisingly good. While I sipped, I took in the interior. Wood paneling everywhere, reminiscent of some English pubs I saw during my UK trip earlier this year. High ceilings. Loud, expected for a Friday night. Good beer selection, all in-house. Noted that the special board had a beer labeled "our lightest offering!", presumably to take the choice out of the equation for a Corona-only drinker who wanders in off the street. That's beside the point. The point: good beer selection. Ten or so taps of regular offerings (try the Porter!) and a Specials board with seasonal or irregular beers. I noted a lot of folks drinking the honey pilsner and a wheat something-or-other with a slice of orange in it. It was 94 degrees outside.

Inside seating seemed a bit loud, and we were unfortunately within earshot of a mid-30s frat guy who apparently never discovered it's not appropriate to refer to attractive women as "pussy" when they walk in the door. It's big city, and it takes all kinds, I guess, but thankfully it took just a few more minutes to be shown to our table out back, and we left him to his shots of bottom-shelf whiskey that he was doing by himself. Cheers, buddy.

Spacious seating out back, very private, and significantly quieter than the indoor seating. Menu was expansive, and had a nice combination of "typical pub fare," "typical Wisconsin fare," and "something for the vegetarians and foodsnobs." I'd go back for the food, for sure.

Beer was very good. No 11% abv Java stout brewed on All Soul's Day with rainwater and 11 kinds of hops and served in a unique pewter glass to be destroyed immediately upon consumption, but there were plenty of nicely balanced session ales. The ESB was very good, and the IPA was also (though I don't know what "Texas Speed Bump" refers to). Their cream soda was excellent, and red. Seriously. It's red. The other plus was that the beer was served at proper temperature. But the verdict here is that it was very tasty, very solid brewpub beer. Great choice of sessionables.

They do sampler flights of various sizes, and pints were in the $4 to $4.50 range. Four of us had dinner and beers for around 65 bucks, which was well worth it. I'm already looking forward to going back.

 2,514 characters

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) in Madison, WI
3.69 out of 5 based on 931 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe