8 Madison-Area Breweries You May Not Have Tried Yet

By Hannah Wente | Photo by Full Mile Beer Co.

Neighborhood taprooms once graced nearly every main street from here to Bayfield, and more than 300 breweries operated in Wisconsin by the 1890s. Large-scale beer production erased many of these cozy spaces to talk, laugh and share.

The resurgence of craft brewing has made stopping by your friendly neighborhood taproom a reality again — and lucky for us, Madison has had more taprooms crop up in the last few years. Here are some you may not have been to yet, or that have exciting new offerings.

FULL MILE BEER COMPANY & KITCHEN

Co-owners C.J. Hall and Nate Kinderman literally went the full mile to create this restaurant and brewery in the heart of Sun Prairie. The two met in seventh grade and after successful careers spanning marketing, home-brewing and management at Gates & Brovi and Sardine, they decided to create something of their own.

Full Mile opened in December 2018, and offers a full menu including freshly-baked pizzas from their wood-fired Mugnaini pizza oven. And, each beer pairs well with their food offerings. Try a Festbier (a strong, golden German lager), dance polka and enjoy German-style pretzels at their Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 18. fullmilebeercompany.com

DELTA BEER LAB

Delta co-owners Michelle “Speedy” Riehn and brewer Tim “Pio” Piotrowski met at UW-Stevens Point. Together, they create community change at their south side taproom by paying their employees a living wage and donating all tips to local nonprofits. They’ve supported over 20 nonprofits since opening in February 2019.

Speedy recognizes the importance of having some- where to go on holidays, so the brewery remains open every day of the year. Stop in for a coffee- infused golden ale (perfect for fall) or a light, crisp, seasonal-fruited gose — each served in a beaker. Non-beer drinkers can sip on a house-made, craft soda. delta.beer

GARTH’S BREW BAR

Owner Garth Beyer is a former beer beat writer and helped introduce countless breweries to Madisonians. Beyer loves the way beer crosses social and economic sectors, and wanted to be a part of the scene. So, he opened Garth’s Brew Bar on Monroe Street in December 2019.

Throughout the pandemic, he has supported Wisconsin breweries and offered customers rare beers including a coffee saison. Although brewing doesn’t take place on-site, look for collaboration brews between Garth and G5 Brewing Company of Beloit. Stop by for weekly trivia, bingo or book a private party in the taproom. garthsbrewbar.com

HOP GARDEN BREWERY TAP ROOM

Tucked away off of County Road PB behind the Paoli Mill is the Hop Garden. Enjoy fresh craft beers and live music featuring regional bands at this indoor-outdoor venue. And Hop Garden’s beers are truly homegrown: Owners Rich and Michele Joseph grow and harvest several varieties of hops on their 20-acre Belleville farm to use in their own beers — hence the tagline “We Grow Beer.” Farmtastic, a pub-style pale ale, is the most popular tap. Stop by on a Sunday after strolling through the Paoli farmers’ market and grab farm-to-table fare from Molino Taqueria next door. thehopgarden.net

O’SO BREWING COMPANY MADHOUSE

Sour fans flock to this East Washington Avenue taproom that opened in April 2019. O’so’s flagship brewery in Plover — just south of Stevens Point — opened in 2007 and has been making sours longer than many area breweries. O’so is a play on beer descriptions: “O so good, O so sour, O so hoppy,” says Sales Manager Kurt Woodruff.

Grab an Infectious Groove kettle-style sour and head to the patio with your pup. Or grab a friend and hit the pinball machines inside. Munch on pizza and cheesy garlic bread from Stevens Point. osobrewing.com

HOP HAUS BREWING COMPANY

Sara Hoechst and husband Phil enjoyed the spoils of the craft beer movement while living in Colorado. When they returned to Madison, they added “opening a brewery” to their five-year plan. Just two and a half years later, they opened Hop Haus in Verona. Their second location off of the bike path in Fitchburg opened in September 2020. Take a tour of the Fitchburg brewery on Fridays at 4 p.m., then head to the rooftop patio for sunset. Select your favorite from a well-rounded tap list that includes Plaid Panther Scotch Ale and Yard Work IPA. hophausbrewing.com

YOUNG BLOOD BEER COMPANY

Step off of the Capitol Square into this hip jungle locale. Tom Dufek, Billy DuPlanty and brewer Kyle
Gregorash (formerly of Door County Brewing) opened Young Blood in June 2020. A rotating tap list ensures there’s something interesting and new for everyone in your group — in 13 months they’ve sold about 170 different beers. Names like The Brothers McMuffin, a fruit punch- style sour, sometimes originate from staff jokes. The full kitchen offers homemade Taco Bell crunch wraps and stackable Jenga tots. youngbloodbeerco.com

OCTOPI BREWING

Octopi has become a mecca for hop-forward beers and beverage brands like Untitled Art. Their new expansion, set to be completed in early 2022, will allow them to support even more small breweries and beverage companies. In addition to offering brewing and bottling services for local and national brands, their Waunakee taproom features a walleye and cod fish fry, taco Thursdays and pork belly burnt ends. “If you’re an adventurous drinker, you’ll love it here,” says Project Manager Lineve Redlin.

Try the monthly collaboration series from Untitled Art and brewers from around the country and the world, like the 7% ABV strawberry shortcake imperial seltzer made by Pulpit Rock Brewing of Iowa. The best part? Three of Octopi’s brewers are women. drinkoctopi.com


BEER-TASTIC ACTIVITIES

SEPT. 12-18: During Madison Bike Week, bike between Hop Haus and Delta Beer Lab. Choose your starting or “home” brewery, grab a beer and your start time will be marked. Bike to the other brewery and get a beer, return to your home brewery and your finish time will be marked. The team with the fastest average wins bragging rights and a plaque that hangs in their home brewery. madisonbikes.org

SEPT. 18: Full Mile Beer Company & Kitchen Oktoberfest, facebook.com/fullmilebeerco

SEPT. 30: Craft night at Garth’s Brew Bar, garthsbrewbar.com OCT. 16: Hop Haus Beer Run, a 5K run/walk and (for those 21+) a one-mile beer run, hophausbeerrun.com

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