The Malt House
Taps: 18 / Bottles: 150
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 25 | Show All Ratings:
5/5 rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
The Malt House is Madison's best bar, and the best in the Midwest from the many I have ventured to so far. The bar is nothing but alcohol and good company, with no TV's, no food, and no music playing in the background (unless there's a live low-key band playing in the corner on the odd weekend night).
The bar has FIVE fridges full of multiple beers of any style you could crave. The bar also has a respectable number of rotating taps that range between microbrew domestics (e.g., Satisfaction Jackson), regional delights (e.g., Bells Two Hearted) and tasty foreign beers (e.g., St. Abt 12).
They also have a full whiskey bar.
If you want to go to a classy bar with great selection, Malt House is your place.
11-06-2011 07:19:43 | More by jegross2
4.88/5 rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
this is my local (for the next few months). great tap list, everything is fairly priced but of course there are some serious heavy hitters so that doesn't mean it's cheap. really this is the best bar in town for belgians, and there are other places that have as much american stuff that they do, but the entire beer list is just really well put together here. if you have a car and are in madison, there's no excuse to miss this place, and not having a car isn't a good excuse either. the madison in half a day tour would hit ale asylum, malt house, maduro and the memorial union. there's no food here, but you're free to order in.
not the most beautiful part of madison. that doesn't mean it's a bad neighborhood, it's not, but it ain't all that pretty. but there are a couple other places near to visit, and as you get towards the atwood neighborhood it's more frou-frou. plus there's a porno shop kitty corner that always seems to be on the news for getting robbed. NO TVS, which is a plus, just don't expect to be able to catch a game here. for that, go to dexter's.
01-10-2009 21:48:32 | More by nchrist13
4.8/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in here last night. Been here before and will continue to go back.
Always a nice selection of Belgian beers on tap (St. Bernardus Prior, Blanche du Bruxelles, Piraat to name a few.) and in bottle (many more).
I believe there are a total of 18 taps in the place, always with different stuff available. The previous time I went in, I had Sierra's Bigfoot and Stone's Old Guardian Barleywines. This time I tried some more local stuff: Tyranenas Chipotle Porter, Ale Asylum's Ballistic IPA.
Do yourself a favor and check the chalkboard on the wall for the most updated list of stuff on tap. They do provide you with a hand held menu, but the wall will be far more up to date, since when they run out a keg, they change whats on tap.
The hand held menu does tell you all of the beers that they have in bottle, which becomes quite helpful.
The atmosphere for this beer bar is wonderful. There are NO tvs. It's all about the beer and conversation. The bartenders usually know their stuff about the beers that are on tap, and they always have the right glass.
They do have a small but good selection of single malt scotch and bourbon and a few wines for those who's significant others don't drink beer (what?!).
They don't do food here, only bags of chips, but you can order out and have it brought in.
The prices have always been reasonable, even for the rare stuff you don't normally see in a bar. I definitely recommend this place to other BA's who are looking for that quiet place to go.
04-01-2009 16:30:06 | More by TPatuto
4.74/5 rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Hard to find a fault with this place. You walk in and find a old tavern/dive bar look, but I'm from this part of the country so that doesn't bother me. There are no TVs or games that make noise to distract you from the main attraction - a great beer and whiskey selection.
18 taps evenly split between Belgian and local beers. Service was friendly and efficient, not much more to ask for. All the beers were served in either logo glassware that matched your beer or the proper shape of glass for the style and the lone employee was serious about that telling one customer they'd have to wait for a certain beer because all of the proper glasses were being used.
There is no kitchen, but this place was awesome enough that when my wife asked about dinner, I thought about suggesting the bags of Doritos and Funions at the end of the bar. The bartender suggested a good Thai place nearby. This place is must-stop when visiting Madison.
04-15-2012 21:14:00 | More by slyke
4.64/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
I don't think I really need to write much--the other posts have described this place quite nicely. I stopped in with some friends on a late Saturday afternoon to discover an amazing array of tap offerings (we didn't even try any bottles, although certainly there are plenty of options there, too. The Malt House is the very epitome of "laid back beer bar." No distractions, just good beer, good service and good conversation if you're willing to engage your fellow patrons (and isn't that usually better entertainment than the big game). I understand it can get pretty crowded later in the evening, although there were only about a dozen or so in the bar during our visit.
11-26-2008 14:27:11 | More by LittleTimmy
4.64/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
First things first...if you're coming from the west (E. Washington), you'll need to make a 3-point turn or turn left from the right lane whilst checking your blind spot to get into the parking lot. There is also a bike rack out front.
A-Very good atmosphere, dimly lit but you get some good sunlight through the windows sometimes. Tunes playing on the computer behind the bar, no TV, good conversation, diverse and interesting clientele.
Q&S-Top notch local and internat'l brews on tap and available in bottles. Always a quickly rotating batch of Belgians with a couple of regulars that seem to get re-ordered. I don't know how many of the bottles on the list are actually in-stock, but I've never had to find out because the tap selection is broad enough to keep me happy.
S-Probably the best bar service I've ever had in any establishment. They are quick to react, always get the right order, are very knowledgeable, polite, and pleasant.
V-Prices are comparable and probably slightly better than most other places of similar quality.
If you're in Madison, stop by here. It's just south off Hwy. 30, but a lot of people familiar w/the area don't even know it's here because it is rather new and unassuming.
09-05-2009 21:33:19 | More by BoitSansSoif
4.58/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Ventured over here on foot after visiting Alchemy on Atwood. Located in a somewhat desolate area, across from a rather shady "adult emporium". Large Chimay sign outside was a clue to the quality beer to be had inside.
There were some exclusive taps here for the Great Taste weekend, such as Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam, O'so imperial Saison, and Grumpy Troll Maggie IPA. Other local craft options and Belgians too. Big chalkboard in back listed the taps. Vast bottle selection here, something for everyone. The interior was larger than I expected, low drop ceiling, wood paneling on the side walls. We only stopped in for a couple rounds, but I noticed plenty of beer decor, like De Dolle posters, and a few other scattered signs. Lots of tables and chairs, they also had some cheese plates out on the bar, that was a nice touch. Sid the bartender was really great, friendly and helpful even when it was busy.
I'd go back sometime to see what was new on tap.
2009 edit: Malt House is consistently solid, i'd recommend them over Brasserie V if you're looking for Belgians.
08-11-2008 18:08:53 | More by emerge077
4.53/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$
This might be the best place in Madison to have beers simply because of their selection. Sure, they have no food, no TV's, no jukebox, no bar games but I'm not sure any other place offers quite as many high quality beers. Since they have no food they keep a folder of menus from places in the neighborhood and they'll let you order food to be delivered to the bar. The place has tons of character. The actual bar itself is from the civil war era and the place was established back in the civil war days. It was called the Union House and was a place where union soldiers could go for drinks when they were in town training at Camp Randall. They have a very nice outdoor patio for the warmer days as well.
03-31-2011 00:35:21 | More by adman08
4.5/5 rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
I stopped here a few times over the Summer to grab a drink with my girlfriend. I had heard that this place was all about beer, which sounded right up my alley. There's no music, no television and no games. Awesome. (Well, I wouldn't background music so long as it's quiet) This is my kinda place.
We browsed through their bottle and tap selection which was pretty extensive and made our choices. Good pour, good serving temperature and both good beers. I don't visit bars very much simply because it's too expensive, but this place is one that's worth visiting for sure.
If you're coming to Madison and need a place to grab a drink, check this place out.
11-03-2009 00:19:11 | More by Ek0nomik
4.46/5 rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Went here last night for the first time hoping to get some NG Bourbon Barrel Kriek. Too late for that unfortunately. Still enjoyed myself immensely.
Very long bar, screen door that slams, incredibly loudly, echoey space that was pretty loud without any music. While too noisy due to basic acoustics the whole vibe managed to be incredibly unpretentious, simple decor, lots of small tables, fairly well lit (for a bar), and a nice amount of outdoor seating. There was an Irish band last night that was kind of obnoxious, but apparently they also have live bluegrass music which sounds more enjoyable.
Beer selection is excellent, glassware is varied and appropriately used, bartenders know how to pour. Tried a number of Belgians I was unfamiliar with, and there was a good selection of Wisconsin brews on tap. Other parts of the US seemed underrepresented on the taps but plenty of stuff in bottles and a wide variety of styles.
Service would have been better if there had been more bartenders working, the two people behind the bar were running around constantly and I had to wait quite a while for service for my first couple of brews. Pricing was pretty reasonable, though there were plenty of rarer bottles on the menu that were way out of my price range.
This is definitely one of Madison's best beer bars, and its refreshing to see a place like this away from the downtown area. Wish it was closer to my place, but with summer coming I'm more likely to walk/bike a distance to get a drink, will definitely be a repeat customer.
05-03-2011 11:59:53 | More by johnkale
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The Malt House in Madison, WI
97 out of 100 based on 28 user ratings.