Probably close to a dozen visits since the fall of 2013. This is my most-visited brewpub - maybe most-visited drinking location period - since I moved back to the Midwest three years ago. It’s right across the street from the Sundance Cinema, and that’s been my primary movie home during these years, so that explains it - movies are at least as important to me as beer. Anyway I’ve also been to the Fitchburg location, and the downtown (several times); the latter beats this one in ambiance/character for sure, but as near as I can tell all three share the same basic food and beer menus, with just a few variations. The beer at this chain has improved quite a bit over the 15+ years since I first visited the original location; this winter and spring offered an absolutely stunning Mosaic IIPA, and a pretty credibly Westy 12 clone, as well as some fine bocks and doppelbocks. One thing nice about this location, echoing the original, is that it has several different spaces with different vibes - big front bar area, two separate outdoor areas, a couple of quieter dining rooms, and a back bar with pool tables, which is often the easiest place to get a seat. Food is generally solid though I’ll warn tuna-lovers like myself: they refuse to do their tuna sandwich rare. What’s up with that?
Until the state laws get resolved they are not able to carry their own beers. However, they do a great job of making up for it with the selection of other Wisconsin beers. Expect to see treats like New Glarus Belgian Red (unbelievable on tap), Lake Louie, Capital and Gouden Carolus. In some ways it is better than the selection at the other two.
As usual the food is good - be sure to make it for the Sunday brunch if you can. As with all places in Madison it is smoke free. Parking may or may not be hard to find as they build up the Hilldale area.
Not as big or as nice as the Fitchburg location but still a nice place nonetheless. I love that pretzel burger, made the trip up for that and to check out more of their beer. Had a decent selection of annuals, plus five specialty beers, two of which were on the cask. Friendly waitstaff and clean smoke-free environment. The mirrors on the booth kept messing with me though.
Sat in the billiard area, very nice size room, and great service. Our waitress was very knowledgeable, and answered all of our questions. She explained the seasonals, and offered samples of each, sweet. We started with a sampler, ate a little lunch and had a couple of pints before leaving. Very good selection of brews, and a style for everyone. The Hop Rush was my favorite, and Lite Lager my wifes. The food was very good as well, we all tried something different and enjoyed each meal. Would visit again, but want to try the other locations as well.
Updated 5/13/08. Apparently the Wisconsin laws restricting brewers to only two retail locations has changed, as this location now serves Great Dane beers. They also had a few visitor taps (New Glarus Raspberry Tart was one of them). The place is pretty typical of the other two Great Dane locations fairly upscale for a brewpub, spacious, and open. Conveniently located a few blocks from Steve’s on University. They serve the Imperial IPA here as one of their staples, which is nice.
Just like all the other non-Downtown locations. Right next to the Sundance movie theater, makes for a nice evening. I used to live in this part of town and this is really the only bar or restaurant around that I would bother visiting. Easier to walk in and get a table here than Downtown. Honestly, even if you’re at the mall already, the Vintage isn’t too far away...
I have to say that the lack of being able to serve Great Dane beers was a kick in the teeth even through they have a solid beer list. This was a very nice looking modern new building with plenty of seating and a pleasant atmosphere. Service is usually very good, and the food was just what I expected and hoped for (I love eating at the Dane!) after frequenting the downtown location. As mentioned the beer list was good (they had stuff such as Belgian Red and some Victory stuff), but Great Dane beers are not available there, and the Leinie’s Big Eddy IIPA that was on the menu was not available ( Overall a nice place that would be great with a change in state laws.
I finally made it to the third Great Dane for the purpose of trying Big Eddy. The food was on par with the others, although the pizza wasn’t as good as I remember it. The beer selection was well chosen, with an emphasis on WI micros including Lake Louie, Capital, and others of note. Worth the stop if they have something special on, but otherwise not.