Great Dane Brewing Company - Madison

123 E. Doty St., Madison, WI, 53703, United States
(608) 284-0000
Latitude: 43.07447, Longitude: -89.38028


  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:30 AM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 2:30 AM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Wifi Available
Cask Beer
Indoor Smoking
Available Parking
Beer Pricing: $$
Public Transit
Proper Glassware
Outdoor Seating
Family Friendly
Selection: 4.21 | Atmosphere: 4.13 | Service: 4.13 | Food: 4.00
out of 100
Overall Beer Mapping Score
Based on 12 reviews.
Score from Google Reviews:
out of 5
View Google reviews
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miori1230 (215)
Saturday 5th of January 2013 07:33:11 PM
The Great Dane is a nice brewpub in Madison. When you first walk in, there are several separate seating areas - basically like multiple bars in one. I sat on the outside in an area that looked like a courtyard. It was a warm summer day, and sitting out there was really nice.

I ordered just a beer sampler, which came with a stout, porter, IPA and a red ale. None were bad, but none were really great either. It seemed like their selection favored lighter beers that aren't really my style.
Selection: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 4.25 | Food: N/A

dzouras (49)
Saturday 23rd of July 2011 01:09:55 PM
The Great Dane Pub in downtown Madison was only a short walk from my hotel. I don't know what it would be like to find parking if I had driven here.

The place is huge. I didn't realize it at first, but it is like three bars in one. There is the small pub with bar and some high tables, a large game room pub with another bar and pool tables, and then there is the "cave" in the basement with yet another dimly lit bar and booths. (This would have been more my style, but I didn't discover it until I went looking for the men's room which is also in the basement.)

As usual we camped at the bar and ordered a sampler. The bartender served us with a smile. The ten samples were presented on a large wooden dog bone shaped tray.

The beers were all drinkable, but there were too many lites, pilsners and other "safe" versions of beer styles for my taste. (Unfortunately for the Dane, I had spent several hours earlier in the day at a pub with a much tastier selection.)
I didn't settle in for a long session at the Great Dane, but if I was going to, then I might have had a pint of the Crop Circle Wheat, Devils Lake Red Lager or the Black Earth Porter.

The food that we had was tasty. The Drunken Jerk wasn't me for a change, but it was what I ate. The marinade, with a mix of sweet and spice nicely complemented the meat. It would have been perfect if the meat was more tender. They really should have taken the time to cook it until it was falling apart. My wife's Sustain-A-burger was juicy and delicious.

I spent about two hours at the Great Dane on a Thursday evening and it was hopping the whole time. One thing that I noticed both in this pub and on the street, is that downtown Madison seems to have a high density of attractive young women. I am a happily married man, but I thought I would add that to my review for all you eligible bachelors out there.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to the Great Dane Pub in downtown Madison. The food was tasty, the atmosphere was fun. The beer was OK, but not great. If this place was in my neighborhood, I would definitely be a regular. The beer is the deciding factor for me though. I wish I could give this place a little better score on the beer, but I cannot justify that until the beer ranks up there with other fine Madison area breweries.
Selection: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.5

wbfarr (43)
Monday 27th of September 2010 05:53:47 PM
I finally made it to Madison (well, beyond the GTOMW at Olin-Turville Park anyway) a few months back on a gorgeous summer day, and walked and ate and browsed and eventually drank. I started at the Great Dane. I sat in the poolroom side, which started out mostly empty that mid-afternoon (the other side was slammed by lunch folks). Which meant that I got to spend a good amount of time talking with the bartender on literature, his budding brewing career and how supportive the Dane folks were in encouraging it, and the current beers. I had two beers -- a wonderful German pils and a tasty ESB (if I recall correctly) on cask. And as the place filled up, there was lots of great conversation with folks sitting at the bar. A great time. Good pricing, great beer, excellent conversation -- strangers feel at home.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 5 | Food: N/A

usmakusma (30)
Tuesday 14th of September 2010 10:24:44 AM
Nice place, the menus looked like newspapers. They had fliers around advertising chocolates that are made with their beers, but they didn't have any when we were there.

We got the sampler, beers were alright, we didn't get much description of what everything was. We had to ask if the Porter was on handpull, and yes it was. The stout had an odd initial taste, still had the stout feel and taste, but the porter seemed to be better.

The soups were good. We both got burgers and my wifes seemed to have fishing line in it, we found out it was the bristles from the brushes they used for the marinade, they took care of it though, we would order it again, everything was pretty good.
Selection: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.5

emerge077 (360)
Friday 4th of June 2010 11:24:56 PM
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...
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 3.5 | Service: 4 | Food: 4.0
Thursday 27th of May 2010 03:57:06 PM
I used to frequent this place back when my friends were in college at UW Madison in the late 90's, and not a lot has changed to my eye. The food is good...I do love the Ale and onion soup. Location is great, with good restaurants and other places to visit within walking distance.

This was one of my first brewpubs and my memories are all fond. On my most recent trip through Madison I stopped off here again. The beers were plentiful, but none of the 8 beers I sampled were amazing. Only one was sub-par, and I think the cask had issues. I have to say that either my palate has improved or the quality of the beers has dropped over time.
Selection: 3.25 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.0

stoptime (15)
Saturday 28th of November 2009 12:06:22 PM
This is a huge space, and obviously popular with the college kids. Depending on where you are in building it can be very loud and crowded, or secluded and quaint.

They have a good selection of beers. Unfortunately, none of them really stand out except for the Texas Speedbump IPA. I don’t think they have their casks tapped right, as the cask beer certainly didn’t have the feel of cask ale.

The only food we tried was the bacon mac ’n cheese pizza, which was mind-blowingly good. Going to attempt recreating it at home, as I have better beer here.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 3 | Service: 2.75 | Food: 4.5
Thursday 24th of September 2009 02:51:13 PM
This is one of my favorite locations on the Capitol square in Madison. The Great Dane Brewing Company in Madison features an awesome menu with one of the best burgers in Madison, Wisconsin: the Sustain-a-Burger. Other menu favorites include a brown ale onion soup (for those of you who like french onion soup) and a cheese and artichoke dip which is served hot and goes really well with Stone of Scone Scotch Ale.

The beer at this downtown Madison location is outstanding and if you are looking for beer in quantity, try a 5.5 gallon pub keg for $45 or a half barrel keg for $125, be sure to give the Dane a call at least two days a head of time for quantity beer. The Great Dane Madison also features a large selection of seasonal beers made on site, ask your server or bartender.

Depending on the time of your visit you may find the service to be smashing or out right bad. Don't let that discourage you from trying this location for lunch or dinner, you will be pleased.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Food: 4.75

Izzy (43)
Sunday 23rd of August 2009 05:50:34 PM
I've hit the Dane a number of times now, and have never been disappointed. It seems a brewpub's brewpub in decor, with pleasant and helpful staff. Every beer I've tried here has been excellent, and there's always been cask on offer.

I've eaten here at least twice now, and have always been happy. On my most recent visit, I had the bacon-bratwurst burger, which was expansive and delicious, laying down a great base layer for a day's drinking at the Great Taste.

I'd definitely recommend this one if you're in Madison.
Selection: 5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.75

frazbri (78)
Monday 11th of August 2008 01:55:44 PM
The Great Dane was the first stop on my first Great Taste weekend. At first glance, this place didn't look very big, but then I saw the pool hall and the patio and realized this is one large brewpub. We took a table to start the visit with a little snack. We moved to the pool hall for a little gaming.

Service was very good on both sides. I was especially impressed with the pool hall side. Two waitress patrolled the area and kept everybody's glasses full.

There were about a dozen beers on tap. My favorite was the scotch ale. It had a nice peat smoked flavor that made it very interesting. The varity of beer styles was impressive.

Great Dane is a multi-faceted brewpub. A nice dinner with family, a quick pint at the bar and a night hanging with the crew playing pool or shuffleboard; it's all there.
Selection: 4.25 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Food: N/A

hugbee (75)
Tuesday 8th of May 2007 05:05:29 PM
The madison dane is the only dane I've been to sadly... but the madision dane is anything but sad... It's a pretty good madison meat market for those on the single side and it has good beer too so.... even more of a bonus...

the beer selection here is really great... I drank a lot on the crawl the last visit I gave but it's usually 9 standards and 3-6 specials plus the handpump beers, so like me you can get to be pretty fuzzy before the cosmic shame goes home with you... I tasted at least 4 of the beers and had 3 solid pints of the two handpumps and one of the specials (a strong scotch, a special english mild, and a new porter, not the black earth) If you are new to this place and need to gauge the standards, either the devils lake red or the stout on nitro... that should determine whether you like or dislike the beers... tho to note... this place is a seasonal paradise.. go with the regulars and like them, you can enjoy every time, like the excitement of the random, the seasonals are very different, the fall is the barleywine season and sometimes multiple years just randomly show up and that is always good.

There's two sides and a basement to the dane and all three places are fun to drink in... the pool table side with it's own bar, the food side with it's own bar or the basement with it's own bar... so potentially there's three bars to try... (all with the same beer mind you...) but you've been to places where the bars differenciate depending on where you drink... getting an eyeful and feeling the vibe on each spot, especially when the place is jumping... makes a difference.... My favorite things are as follows... I really love the stain glass in the room with the pool tables.... and the bar in there is by far the largest and best... if you're there to eat as well as drink, the booths are a better bet than bellying up in my opinion... one bartender to a dozen at the bar to three waitresses covering their respective tables, savvy. The downstairs is okay. The pool table area's where I'm at... All the bars are that great oxblood color of traditional england and having the multiple handpumps is great. The vibe here is great... it's a meat market that's a beer nerds paradise... more like minded than narrowminded drinkers in here... so it's kind of a bonus for the beer nerd... I've been in here on nights when the women outnumber the men... but I've closed with the dane several times too...

service is patience and tolerance and gratuity... if it's empty... they will decend upon you... your water will never run dry and your beer will essentially stay foamy if you get my drift.... when it's busy... your not fighting the staff, it's the pain in the ass indecisive that make you wait for your beer. so service is better than average.

haven't had the food lately... so I cannot say

pints are cheaper than chicago, so inexpensive it is.
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 3.75 | Food: N/A

beerinator (131)
Monday 7th of May 2007 10:24:25 AM
I really enjoy the Great Dane. My first visit was superb with a great gravity poured cask selection as well as an awesome burger. Since then, my visits haven't quite lived up to that first experience, but they have still been very nice.

The tap selection is on the larger side for a brewpub. They have at least 10 regularly available beers plus 5 or more specials. Some beers are served nitro, some hand pumped cask, but most are co2 poured. There is always one beer selection that is gravity poured from firkins that have been hoisted up to a high shelf by a rope and pulley system that might have come over on the mayflower.

The majority of the menu is composed of pub food accompanied by some interesting selections. A Brat and Bacon Pretzel Burger!? There are some tex-mex-ish options as well as higher end selections like steaks, pasta and fish. The food menus are available on their website.

As with all other Madison establishments (except Maduro) there is a no smoking policy. This Great Dane has a very large pool area and a separate bar devoted to an area that is away from the dining area.

Definitely a must stop in Madison.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.25 | Food: 4.0
Tap list 4/08
Tap list 4/08
Image credit: hoppedup
Uploaded: September 28, 2008 10:09 AM
Gravity poured casks
Gravity poured casks
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: June 7, 2007 09:32 AM
The front of Great Dane Brewpub
The front of Great Dane Brewpub
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: June 7, 2007 09:31 AM
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