Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

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

(608) 284-0000 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 180
Photo of slander
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

So, we skip out on Angelic, head back up the hill, across the Capital building lawn, and down the hill on the other side. Maybe Great Dane will hold something a little better. We hadn't eaten, yes, we were due, and those 2 growlers from Lake Louie (a killer scotch ale and porter) were starting to take hold...
Great Dane has some good size to it. Entering through the bar side, you're in a room with a straight wood bar along one wall seating upwards of a dozen with just as many bar tables lying adjacent, and the rest of the room is made up of an area with a 1/2 dozen pool tables with small green lamps over them, some cushy couches, Phil's golf game, electronic darts and an elevated stage area for band set ups. Large wood units behind the bar holding glassware and booze, and beer bongs on the counter. Light green wall uppers, wood slat lowers, drop lighting overhead, strung Xmas lights, TV's here and there, stained glass windows, a cigar showcase, and the tap selections shown on a large blackboard.
There's (like) 15 beers on tap (Lite, 2 Pilsners, Wheat, Red Lager, APA, Irish Stout, Porter, Oatmeal Stout, Marzen, English Brown Ale, IPA, Barleywine, Belgian Tripel, and a cask gravity pour Dark Mild). An absolute great range of beers are made here and the ones I had were real damn nice. What's that? Yea, that sell growlers to go, sure.
Hey, that guy kind of looks like Brian (BeverageCaptain), but no, what would he be doing here? Either he's stalking me or he's relocated his life from NJ to Madison, WI (it's the latter).
We were waiting on our table for 4 in the main dining room and it quickly came up. About 2 dozen tables and booths in the big room, dark wood trim, brick walls, ceiling fans, and "hop, malt & beer" prints. The dining room is somewhat attached to the bar area housing a 1/2 dozen booths and bar tables adjacent to main bar, "L" shaped, seating about a dozen. Pillars, fans, TV's, a room with fermenters and mashers, and GABF metals displayed here.
The beer and food menu is done up like a little newspaper called "The Dane Dispatch", seemingly updated seasonally, with such articles as "About our beers", food headers, and "Beer to go". I had a bowl of some really good gumbo, spicy and nice, and a beef burrito, also very good.
Shhh!!!! Craig, don't wake the baby. Oh, wait, that's not the baby. That's (Evil) Davo passed out at the table, with fork in hand. What? No, I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you ate his snausages. He ain't gonna finish them.
Ventured downstairs to find a small basement bar there. Shaped like a backwards question mark seating about half a dozen, plus a dozen booths and tables. Not a lot of room down there but they do well with the space and they're pouring all the taps. Not too shabby.
Great Dane more than made up for that fiasco on the other side of the hill. Quite smply, "The goods".

 2,866 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 woodychandler
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

A note on the Selection category - they had between 15 and 18 beers on at any given time, all good, no clinkers, and it took me several visits to try everything. Yow!
This B. C. was established in 1994 in the former Fess Hotel, which is now listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is a very expansive place, being that it is situated on the corner of E. Doty and Webster Sts, giving them plenty of room to operate. They have a game room with pool tables and a bar; another bar inside of the main entrance with seating and a third dining area; a downstairs equivalent of a brickskeller, called "The Rathskeller"; and an outdoor biergarten. The woodwork and exposed brick throughout the building are stunning. The brewhouse is fully visible to the rear of the main bar and in the basement, on the way to the head, the same visibility can be said of the grian mill and the storage/serving tanks. In fact, there are three rooms of fermenters. Getting back to the game room, there are six pool tables, along with two stained glass windows, one depicting the mash tun, the other the harvest of hops (!). There is a block and tackle mounted behind the main bar and I waas told that it is for non-paying customers, of which I was not one. Finally, I am compelled to remark on the tap handles, which have the shape of dogs' heads on top of them. Very inspired.

 1,355 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

What can be said about the Great Dane that hasn't already been said? Not much. It's clearly the best brewpub in Madison. Now, I haven't been to the Fitchburg location (I'll get there next time!), but I have been to Hilldale, and the downtown location just has so much more charm and character in its looks and feel that there's really no comparison. I love the big booths! Anyway, I also love the food. They have several vegetarian choices, which I appreciate, and they're clearly marked on the easy to read menu. Massive choice of beers!!! Of course you'll want to try them all. And, they're all good. Very well-made, balanced beers - without question some of the best brewpub beer I've ever had; and better than many micros... these guys do a really good job. AND, they serve some of it cask-conditioned :) The service can be hit or miss (college students...), but for the most part it's just slightly above what has become the average. It's a perfect place for a first date, a night out with the guys, or even a place to bring mom & dad. Highly recommended.

 1,060 characters

Photo of Yetiman420
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stop # 225 on my brewery tour of the world.

This was my second visit to the downtown Great Dane over the course of about five years and I realized I did not submit an initial review. Consider this an updated/initial review.

Visited Thursday in early August around 1:00 in the afternoon. Not much of a crowd and I sat at the bar.

Ordered samples of...
Tri pepper pilsner (three spicy peppers - nice)
Hop jack pale
German pils
Czech pils - nice
Red lager
Beer engine IPA
Firkin scotch ale

I had the seared ahi tuna which was ok for bar standards.

Young female bartender was nice and we chatted a bit about her new interest in sour beers.

As far as brewpubs in historic buildings goes, this one is among the finest I've been to. Very well run with quality beer.

 776 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Definitely one of the most beautiful bars in Wisconsin. It has a superb location, right at the base of the capitol on the square. Also, it is housed in a former hotel, and the facade is gorgeous. The bar is enormous, and it is a wrap-around style with a false door seperating the bars in adjacent rooms.

At any given time, there are at least a dozen beers on tap. Most of the time, there are 15 or more. Now they also have cask ales, and they often have a bitter or ESB cask above the bar.

There are always cute little college girls to deliver you a fresh pint or take your order. On the weekends, hundreds come in to listen to live music or shoot pool. The food is not that spectacular, but the beer is fresh, and I have fun every time I go there.

 756 characters

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

I go to this place with my family and everyone sings its praises. The building is very nice with a good nonsmoking section and a nice garden in back. The crowd is nice and slightly more 'mature' for a major college town. They seem to draw a lot of professionals from the State Government.

The service is always friendly and knowledgeable if not always quick. The food is very good. I really like the walleye and the burgers.

The beer selection is huge and most are very good. I like the pale ale, the hefe-wiezen and the porter. I've never had a bad beer here. I wish I lived closer so I could go more often!

 616 characters

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

This place has been heavily reviewed I see. I live down the hill, to the west of this madison institution, a 15-20 minute walk.

located right of the capital, in certainly the more upscale business-class section of the isthmus, which isn't bad i guess because it's a nice change of pace from state street. atmosphere is sophisticated, mostly business-class with hippies mixed in(it's madison ya know). very relaxed but still "hip"

the layout is pretty nice...INCREDIBLE beer garden in the warmer months, 3 levels really in a gradual sense...plenty of seating, some pool tables, tv's, etc.

the food is pretty good. this place does a ton of business during the lunch hour and I have walked over here quite a few times from work just to grab a bite. The dane burger is good (artichoke heart dip on the burg!) and i like the mayan chicken wrap too.

the beer is exceptional for a brewpub. There is always quite a selection, always double digit taps, 15-20 usually i would say. Lots of year round standards that include a phenomenal porter, a great APA, and much more. Always some cask conditioned ales as well which is quite the treat. Throw in numerous "specialty" brews and you have quite the lineup. The texas speedbump ipa was sensational. Definately the best local brewpub ive had access too, hands down.

prices are perhaps on the high end of normal, if that makes any sense. Its right on the square so parking can be an issue too. Price is certainly deterrent.

 1,475 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Stopped here on a Saturday night. Prime location in Madison, near the capital and not too far from State Street. A large facility that might have needed an extra bartender or two, as it was still relatively packed. The beers were solid, and the had a relatively extensive and broad list of beers. This is probably the prime brewpub "event" in Wisconsin, the blend of quality beer, nightlife, and good food. I ate an Indian entre' that I can't recall, but enjoyed it and it gets even more points for its boldness. Will I come back here? Absolutely. Also I find it to be a great place to take a significant other.

 611 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.38/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nothing major to change except for the atmosphere has much improved since smoking moved outside in MadTown. I love this place!

From 11-28-03
overall: 4.28 atmosphere: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
The Great Dane is one of my favorite Madtown places. The bar side can get smoky, but you should travel over there to see what is on hand pull, and it is generally easier to get a draft or a stool on that side. The dining side can get noisy, and it can be difficult at times to get a table or to get a beer from that bar. At night my experience has been you will have to wait to be seated.

The quality of the beers is always well done, the service is generally good even when they are packed. The selection is outstanding for a brewpub. They had 13 beers at my last visit, and at times have more.

The food I have had at Great Dane has always been very good. A friend ordered the lamb on my last visit and it was very tough.

 959 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This is a great brewpub in a great pretty little town (it's all about the lake and the lovely capital building). The atmosphere here is very collegey. Smoky with a pool hall/bar on one side and a 'restaurant' on the other side. The quality of my beers was very good (cask ipa and 7 c's, hey I was in a hopped-up mood). Anyways, service was friendly and the tender acted as if I had been there before. The locals made for some great conversations as well, and they helped me find a place to catch some live music as well. Selection was very good as well with about 10-12 of their own brews on draught and one or two guests as well. Definately a place to check out in Madison. My advice, skip Milwaukee and head straight for Madison...

 733 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 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 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 DaPeculierDane
4.25/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've been a weekly patron at the Dane for more than three years and I've yet to grow tired of its food, beers, or atmosphere.

Atmosphere: By far the best beer garden in Madison. In the summer, be sure to have your hostess take you down in to the cellar and out onto the patio. The high ivied walls, iron tables, and flower beds create an ideal drinking atmosphere in the heart of downtown.

The interior is divided into various rooms. The cellar has a rathskeller type of room with large carved in wooden tables and a couple dart boards. The upstairs boasts a large eatery area with numerous comfortable booths. It has its own bar area, which was nonsmoking before long before the communist city council decided to throw property rights out the window. Now the entire bar, which was once sort of a cigar bar too, is non-smoking.

The “bar” area is a large, high ceiling spacious room containing six quality pool tables in one corner, a small stage with couches on it in another and several tables closer to the physical bar.

The entire place is located within the confines of the a historically significant and beautifully restored hotel. They’ve done a wonderful job maintaining the classic almost gilded feel of the hotel while blending it with all the great brewery stuff.

The quality of most of their beers is very high. I particularly enjoy their porter, stout, barley wine, scotch ale, and wheat. The Dane also provides a steady stream of new seasonal or onetime brews to try as well and usually has at least three cask conditioned ales available. Their one time offering of the “Black Moravian” remains in my memory as one of the best beers I’ve ever had and I wish desperately that they would bring it back. The Dane’s specialty scotch ales over the years, including one which they brewed for charity last year all beat any other scotch ales that I’ve tried including Lake Louie’s.

The Dane also offers a full bar including several great scotches, however, these come at a price. Mixed drinks are small and expensive at the Dane, possibly to encourage consumption of the beer. I personally would never dream of ordering anything but a brew but if someone in your party objects to malt and hops they will have an alternative.

I’ve never found the service to be particularly good. Most of the waiters/waitresses are ditzy college types with very little knowledge about beer or service. Service is often slow and at lunch, when I usually order iced tea or coffee rather than beer, they NEVER REFILL IT. This is a huge pet peeve of mine as I consider drink refilling to be the basis of good service.

The bartenders are better but there are too few of them and they always seemed rushed and stressed out. It’s hard to get a question answered if you have one.

The food is great. Best salads near the capital. Very good, large burgers. Decent wings. Awesome ahi appetizer. Crazy lemonpepper chicken fingers. Average fish. Absolutely wonderful fusion SW chicken black bean pasta, quesadillas, and enchiladas. Good beer bread too. By far my favorite lunch spot near the capital and a good place for groups to go for a fun dinner.

 3,168 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is a decent-sized place on the corner of a few streets near the center of Madison.

Me and my friend sat at a bar type place near the front door. They were offering a glut of beers so we ordered a sampler. Some of the beers (Prageur lager) were pretty good. Others were simple brewpub fare.

We didn't eat so can't comment on that, but the service, especially the bartenders was extremely good despite the place being totally packed to the brims.

Overall it is a solid and worthy stop on a Madison downtown pub crawl.

 529 characters

Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

atmosphere: Decent atmosphere here. I liked the lighting level and the wood construction. There are technically two bar areas, one on the dining room side of the building, and another in the pool/barroom on the other. Wasn't too crowded while I was there.

quality: I was satisfied with, and enjoyed, the majority of the beers I ordered during my visits.

service: The servers were attentive the three nights I visited.

selection: A huge selection of Great Dane beers was available. It was kinda ridiculous actually. One night there were three different IPAs on tap, and the beer menu changed from night to night. Gotta love the cask conditioned selection, too.

food: I had weinerschitzel the first night I visited. It was good, as was the spaetzle and red cabbage it came with.

value: The prices seemed fair, both for beer and food...especially considering the location.

Dirtylou and I visited The Dane at least three times while I was visiting Madison, and I wish there was a place like it close to home.

 1,022 characters

Photo of shivtim
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

With an excellent location, great beer, and great food, this is definitely a stop to make when traveling through Madison. Inside is bright and airy with brick and wood everywhere. Kind of typical brew pub, but classier and brighter. I wish it were a bit more original though, as we've all seen the brick/wood brewpub before. The food is excellent; I had a crazy peanut/squash stew that was unique and tasty. Service was good, but not very beer knowledgeable. Overall the impression is a slightly up-scale restaraunt that's not stuffy and happend to have 15 beers on tap. There were 6 seasonals and even the bizarre watermelon wheat; so a nice variety of available brews. I imagine the atmosphere here varies wildly from lunch to dinner to late-night.

 750 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 bditty187
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

We visited Great Dane for lunch on a Friday. We arrived around 11:30 and only beat the crowd by five minutes; we were seated immediately. The beer selection is rather large and I was very pleased to see they had cask-conditioned ales (they earn extra stars for that). The lunch menu had a good selection, plus the prices were reasonable. There was a nice mix of “specialized” pub-grub and more atypical food (there was also a good number of vegetarian dishes). I really enjoyed the BBQ pork sandwich; while my girlfriend enjoyed some fish-n-chips… we both thought the potato wedges were surprisingly tasty. While the waiter we had was sub-par, we did get our drinks quickly… once he bothered coming to our table.

The atmosphere seemed typical but pleasant… warm and inviting. There was a nice mix of people. The building is spacious enough to accommodate a good number of people without a lot of elbow rubbing.

I must say that Great Dane is a ‘must try’ brewpub if you are ever in Madison. A major plus: there is a parking garage, literally, next door.

 1,065 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I stayed at the hotel on the capital and this was a 5-minute walk. It is a great old building with very clean old factory feeling inside. The pool tables, leather couches and great big bar were nice and the made you feel right at home when you walked in. The chalkboard had over 12 beers with 2 on cask that night. There was a beer garden outback with hop vines growing over the window but the rain kept me close to the bar.

All the beers were great and they had a sampler, which was a huge wooden dog bone with holes for all the beers. I have never seen a brewpub with so many beers on tap at one time. The menu was a newspaper with almost all of the current beers including descriptions.

The food was a nice mix of pub grub with a gourmet twist and some nice ethnic dishes. I couldn't decide between the West African peanut stew and the Belgian Dubbel or the fish and chips with the stout (or porter). I went on the recommendation of 3 of the locals and had the Chicken pot pie with Texas speed bump AIPA. It was a good choice but I sampled a friend fish and chips and it was great aswell.

It was a rainy Tuesday night when I went in but it was pretty busy and everyone I talked to was friendly and had a beer recommendation. I think every neighborhood needs a place like Great Dane on the corner and the world would be a better place. If you are ever close to Madison it is a good place to stop in for at least a pint and a bite to eat.

 1,450 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped in here during the night before my interview at Epic. Following my brief sojourn at the Brickhouse, I knew I had to sample the Dane (thanks for the rec, VDubb!). The place is part brewpub, part poolhall bar, with a Rathskeller below. Right on. As per usual I headed to the bar to grab some brews. they had a pretty good selection ranging from a couple pilsners to an Irish stout. The owner was there, and we shared a nice, brief conversation during which I extolled his brews. (Side note: He even asked me if I wanted to watch anything when he changed the channel of the TV near me. Nice.) Unfortunately, the cask-conditioned New Peculier was not available, having kicked shortly before my arrival (curse my timing this night!). I didn't try the food, so I can't comment on that. The music from the poolhall, though kinda loud, wasn't overly intrusive and consisted of some pretty sweet tunes. Overall, I would love to make this place my usual haunt if I get the job. A very strong brewpub, indeed.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Gatordaddy
3.09/5  rDev -26.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

We visited 14 breweries/brewpubs/taprooms during a recent Midwest trip, and all four of us thought this was by far the worst. Actually, it was the only one that wasn't good. None of the Great Dane beers was exceptional, and one was terrible. I expected much more from such a renowned place. Quite a letdown.

 307 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

 1,055 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Great food, decent service, atrocious beer! I absolutely adored the burger I had. It was perfectly cooked and certainly tasted as if it were cooked over an open flame. Just thinking about it makes me hungry!

But the beer, oh man, Freddy Kruger couldn't inspire worse nightmares. I ordered the bitter on cask and while it was served at the proper cask temp and all ... it was obviously infected. Next up was the mild ale and boom full of diacetyl. A little butter is OK in some English styles, but this was swimming in movie theater sludge. At that point, I decided to quit while I was only slightly behind.

I've been waiting about ten years to get back to Madison so I could try the offerings at The Great Dane and this was a massive let down.

 747 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) in Madison, WI
3.68 out of 5 based on 914 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.