We’ve rounded up our favorite go-to breweries and beer gardens within 30 minutes of Madison, WI where the whole family (kids too!) can have a great time!
There is no shortage of breweries and brewpubs in the Madison, Wisconsin area and each have something special they’re known for. We aren’t big beer drinkers ourselves, but do enjoy a pint or two on a warm summer day! Our husbands love experimenting and trying new craft beers from the local breweries. I believe their favorite is an IPA, but I don’t think they’d turn down a glass of anything 🙂
The perfect way to end a hike or outdoor adventure is a stop at one of the brewery patios on the way home. Many of these breweries are very kid-friendly and we highlighted a few of our favorites. We thoroughly enjoy kicking back, listening to live music, and enjoying some local brews while the kids run and around play outside (and bonus – you can usually bring your dog as many of these are dog-friendly too!) We’ll list out all the details below!
(As always, check the websites day of – as hours and policies are frequently changing due to COVID-19)
1. Vintage Brewing Company | 3 locations
Vintage Brewing Company has three locations:
– Madison West at 674 S. Whitney Way
– Madison Capitol East at 803 E. Washington Avenue
– Sauk Prairie at 600 Water Street
Our favorite location is the Sauk Prairie brewery, as it’s often a good stopping point on our way home from hikes or beaches west of Madison. Located right along the Wisconsin riverfront, this is a huge outdoor beergarden. The kids are able to run around on the ground, while we keep an eye on them from the above patio. The food is always good, plus some good cocktail options for the non-beer drinkers (and the kiddie cocktails are always a favorite with the kids!)
Food: full dine-in menu, plus takeout option
Dogs: yes, leashed dogs allowed on the outdoor beergarden patio
Website: Vintage Brewing Company
2. Wisconsin Brewing Company | Verona, WI
1079 American Way, Verona
There is an indoor taproom, but our favorite is the backyard bar! A huge grassy lawn with firepits, lawn games, and a small pond creates the perfect atmosphere for a fun summer night. There is no wine or hard alcohol, but a variety of beer, seltzers, and non-alcoholic options. Also, no food service but carry-in is welcome! *Our recommendation: Sugar River Pizza or North & South Seafood is right across the street!*
Food: no food available on-site, but carry-ins welcome
Dogs: yes, leashed dogs allowed outside
Website: Wisconsin Brewing Company
3. Capital Brewery | Middleton, WI
7734 Terrace Avenue, Middleton
This was probably the first “biergarten” we visited a decade ago, before so many of the newer ones had popped up so it’ll always be a classic one in our minds. A large patio, which has grown even more over the past few years, good beer and the option for carry-in food and dogs on weeknights. There is usually some live music, events, and the location just outside of downtown Middleton gives plenty of great options for a night out on the town!
Food: not usually, but will sometimes have food sold as part of an event
Dogs: yes, leashed during the week
Website: Capital Brewery
4. Lone Girl Brewing | Waunakee, WI
114 E. Main Street, Waunakee
One of the best rooftop patios, this is another go-to for us for great atmosphere. We love how family-friendly the Lone Girl is, with the owners having younger kids themselves. There are board games to grab, a big firepit, a stage featuring live music at times, and overall very friendly “small town” atmosphere. In addition to their beer, a yummy cocktail menu and full restaurant menu is available. They’ll often host fun events like showing movies on days when school was closed, macaroni & cheese taste-testing competitions, and a “Sunday Funday” with bingo, Bloody Mary’s, beer and brunch.
Food: full restaurant menu
Dogs: yes, leashed dogs allowed only on the lower patio at street level, not on the rooftop
Website: The Lone Girl Brewing Company
5. New Glarus Brewing Company | New Glarus, WI
2400 WI-69, New Glarus
Spotted Cow is one of our most frequently grabbed beers, much to the dismay of our adventurous beer-loving husbands but we know what we like! Actually, the first “adventure” we took after launching our blog was a day trip to New Glarus where we visited the brewery with the kids and spent an afternoon in town (first ever blog post, “A Day in New Glarus, WI with Kids” here). Highly recommend making the short trip out of Madison for this experience – the views are great and there is even a fun gift shop.
*Note, New Glarus Brewing Co is closed until Fall 2021*
Food: no, but many great options in New Glarus for food!
Dogs: yes, leashed dogs allowed on outdoor biergarten
Website: New Glarus Brewing
6. Hop Garden Brewing | Paoli, WI
6818 Canal Street, Paoli
Lastly, Hop Garden is brewery and tap room Sara’s family stumbled upon one afternoon. Located along the Sugar River, it backs up to the Paoli Mill Terrace and Park and has a large open space for the kids to run. Picnic tables and live music make for the perfect, casual setting. While the small unincorporated community of Paoli lacks in size, it has a lot of really good options for everyone! We can easily spend a day in the couple shops, enjoy some great hikes and bike trails, and spend the afternoon hanging out at the Hop Garden.
Food: not at Hop Garden, but a few good restaurant options within a block radius
Dogs: yes, leashed dogs allowed
Website: Hop Garden Brewing
Not a brewery, but another family-friendly spot for beer and great views is the Biergarten at Olbrich Park. It’s located on the east side of Madison at 3527 Atwood Avenue at Olbrich Park Beach, along the lakefront of Lake Monona. A big sand area is a fun place to keep the kids entertained, and you can either bring in your own food or grab some of the German-style foods available like pretzels, brats and cheese curds!