The Malt House, sitting at the corner of East Washington and Milwaukee, beer has been served at this location, more or less, since 1858. The decor is simple and plain; orange walls, occassional beer-related poster, and yellowed 50s-era lighting. The bar does have an amazing, authentic, late-1800s backbar. Although there are no TVs, pool tables, or dart boards there is plenty of beer,liquor and good conversation. Seating is somewhat haphazard, first come first serve. Itís nice that during warmer months they now have outdoor seating as that alleviates some of the seating issues when it gets busy. There are no televisions or other distractions, although they did have a WORT DJ playing some decent tunes.
All beer is served in the appropriate type of glass. Thereís also a full bottle cooler in the back if youíre looking for something else. I would suggest getting on their Facebook page or mailing list for tap announcements.
The bartenders are very knowledgeable about the beer, but could sometimes have more information on a particular beer - for example they may not know ABV or OG numbers.
And while thereís no kitchen available, they allow you to order in a pizza or carry in food as long as you clean up after yourself. Probably the best beer bar in Madison as far as taps go, but with a tavern atmosphere. Itís a bit hard to find (thankfully) as I can envision even more nightly capacity issues if this place becomes too popular.
BVery (643) Plymouth, Minnesota | September 3, 2011| Updated March 24, 2015
Visited here for the first time on Sept. 3, 2011. Kind of a dingy bar feel, and the service was just so-so (I sat at a table for 10-15 minutes with no service, then went to the bar where the bartender screwed up my first ordered beer). However, 18 taps and 200 bottles, and suddenly I could care less about trivial stuff like atmosphere and service. They even have 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon! Proper glassware is used. No flights, which is disappointing given that they have a good number of taps.
Update - revisited in March 2015. I actually love this vibe now.
Just made it to The Malt House for the first time...Iím not sure what took me so long. The setting is an unpretentious, decades-old building, with a long line of barstools at the actual bar, several tables indoors, and a patio outside. Itís very comfortable, but nothing to write home about. The beer selection is one of Madisonís best, and taps are continually being changed. Kudos to the staff for keeping its Facebook page regularly updated with current offerings.
My first experience was a bit of a let down due to the inexplicable snappiness of the server when somebody in my party requested a sample. We were quite rudely told that three total samples for a group of four was pushing the limits of acceptability, despite the fact that we each had already purchased a beer (two of which were $7+) , the samples werenít for unreasonably expensive beers, and we were sitting at the bar. That said, I havenít heard anyone else say anything particularly negative about the service here, so perhaps this was an isolated incident. The selection alone is reason to return.
This is a great place. Reminds me of an old rural English pub. Quaint, good beer selection, no TV, and great conversation.
The owner is a past president of the local homebrewers guild. He sure knows his stuff. Clearly, the best selection of microbeers in the city. Also, a great selection of whiskey (that is made from malt also).
Stopped here to see what they had on tap as my brother and I were hoping from some Cantillon on tap. Instead we ended up having a Bitter Woman on the Rye, Alpha King, and SN Bigfoot all on tap. Nothing pretentious here, just good beer and friendly people.
This has got to be Madisonís best beer bar. Atmosphere is great. No TV, no sports crap, no loud music, no food. Just first rate Belgian and Wisconsin beers (about 18 taps and a large bottle selection). Looks like they have some pretty good whiskeys, too. The prices are reasonable, esp. during Happy Hour from 4:00 to 7:00. We had Ichtegem Grand Cru and Lakefront Bridge Burner (American strong ale - 8%) on tap. Parking lot is a bit like the surface of the moon, they donít have a website and they donít have a sign. But these are minor problems. Located on Washington Ave., a little north of the isthmus. If youíre anywhere near Madison, itís a MUST VISIT.
Imagine you could visit beer heaven, where all the taps are selective brilliance imagine the atmosphere is warm, calm, bright, with loads of boffo vintage Belgian wall signs and Westveleteren crates imagine it was only 10 minutes from where you work and itís $1 off from 4-7pm. IíM not imaging it, I donít think (pinching self). What a spectacularly great beer (whiskey too) bar. Vastly experienced and knowledgable ownership & service fabulous selection of brews alternating (they say) about monthly (I canít wait till next month though). Tonight it was the Capital Autumnal Fire chased by a Cantillon Iris Lambic. Last visit it was an Erdinger Oktoberfest Weisse chased by a Tripel Karmeliet. At happy, happier, happiest hour pricing. Still pinching.
Great place to have a Belgian or craft brew. No TVís ! Yeah Great atmosphere and great service. The beers are well cared for and the selection is wonderful. Also a wonderful selection of bourbon and single malts. Soon to become the best craft beer bar in Wisconsin ! Stop by and look for the Chimay banner outside. They are also bicyclist friendly with a great bike rack outside for parking. Highly recommend a visit !
The new place in Madison, owned and operated by Bill of the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild (he is in chair of the Great Taste!). Only been open for a week, but this place shows some serious promise. Very laid back and classic ambiance (I think the bar is over 150 years old). Folks are helpful and knowledgeable (especially if Bill serves you). No food. Selection is evolving, but look for plenty of beers that you donít see around Madison everyday. Opening week had plenty of Belgians drafts (including a 2005 Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise on tap!). American craft drafts are a deal and belgian drafts are priced right. This place could shape up to be as good of a stop as Maduro, so letís hope they keep the draft and bottle list interesting.