Great Taste Eve

****Last updated at 3:55 pm on August 6th****

It has become a tradition for some visiting breweries to partner with local bars, restaurants, and breweries to showcase their excellent beers. Some of these events even feature breweries that are not able to join us at the Great Taste. And the best part of all these preparties is that you don’t need a ticket! So if you missed out on Great Taste tickets, you’ll still be able to find many opportunities to sample some special beers all around Madison.

Most of the preparties take place on Friday “Great Taste Eve” but some have been taking place on Thursday as well. As we learn of them, we’ll keep a running list of all “Great Taste Eve” events right here so check back often.

Robin Shepard at Isthmus is tracking events with terrific detail so check back there often. Chris Drosner at is also accumulating a list.

If you know of events that are not posted here, please email us and we’ll post it as quickly as possible. All media and beer blogs are encouraged to use any information on this list for your own publications. We are happy to share information as it comes in upon request.

All Week

Ale Asylum will unveil a Blonde IPA at the taproom.

Tuesday August 6

Cicerone Smackdown
Join 5 of Wisconsin’s Certified Cicerones (and a duo from Dexter’s) as we have a little Hop Rocket challenge!
Six different beers, six different (hopefully) Hop Rockets!
Beers will only be identified by a number
Flights (only) will be available from 5 to 8pm
3 Tickets per flight to cast your ballet
After 8pm, single pours will be available
At 10pm, votes will be counted, beers will be revealed and the winner will be announced!

Wednesday August 7

Oskar Blues Wing Night – Oskar Blues beer on tap with wings made from Oskar Blue’s sauces.


Alesmith Launch Party – Tapping Speedway Imperial Stout, IPA, Horney Devil, Speedway Vietnamese (coffee) Blend. Alesmith staff will be there TBD. Beers will be on tap right when we open.


Come celebrate Great Lakes Brewing turning 25 with the Blue Moon on Wednesday and Thursday night as a pre- pre- Great Taste Warm-up. We will be pouring four signature Great Lakes beers as well as a few surprises! Wednesday night we will be Rocketing Eddy Fitz through Coffee and Cocoa Nibs. There are rumors of a special dessert to accompany the Rocketed Eddy. Keep your eyes open!


Alchemy will pair New Holland beer and spirits with food! Plus a Dragon’s Milk hop rocket with bourbon steeped oak chips.


Tyranena will be hosting a special tapping of our “Fargo Brothers Hefeweizen” at The Free House Pub in Middleton starting at 6pm

Thursday August 8

The Signature Lounge at Inn on the Park on the Capitol Square is hosting a Great Taste Pre-Party with Summit Brewing Co. Joe from the brewery will be here to share some pints and talk about beer. Thursday, August 8 from 7-9 p.m.

Hinterland (details to come)

Madison’s own Vintage Brewing Company will be here with 10 to 12 taps with a handful of rare and vintage (little ‘v’) beers. Meet brewmaster Scott Manning from 3-5 pm

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Pre-Great Taste Party
Join us Thursday, August 8th, from 5pm-Close for a tap takeover with Brian, owner/brewer of Stillwater Artisanal Ales out of Baltimore, Maryland. Brian is one of the best brewers around of the great Saison farmhouse ale style and we will be tapping a half dozen kegs of his great beers. More info to come.

Come celebrate Great Lakes Brewing turning 25 with the Blue Moon on Wednesday and Thursday night as a pre- pre- Great Taste Warm-up. We will be pouring four signature Great Lakes beers as well as a few surprises! Thursday night we will be tapping Great Lakes side of the Class of ‘88 Imperial Smoked Porter. Come on in and start your Taste week right!

Goose Island beers and food samples for $20, or $10 for wine locker holders. Reservations are encouraged.

Opening at 4pm and featuring Oktoberfest infused with nutmeg and dates.

Capital Brewery brewmaster Brian Destree is on hand to pour Appleanche (dopplebock with apples) and a lavender-infused version of Lake House. Starting at 5pm.


Friday August 9

The Madison Homebrewers & Tasters Guild has partnered with Hop Head Beer Tours to provide a free Friday night brewery shuttle starting at 7pm and departing from Capital Brewing Co. The Shuttle will stop at each brewery and make two circuits and the final return is to Capital Brewing Co at 12am.
Depart Capital Brewing Co.
 1st stop –  Vintage Brewing Co.
2nd stop – Hilldale Great Dane
3th stop – Downtown Great Dane
4th stop – One Barrel Brewing Co.
5th stop – House of Brews
6th stop – Karben4
7th stop- Ale Asylum
Return to Capital Brewing Co.
Mapquest Route
Please be kind and tip your driver!

The Essen Haus, Come Back Inn, and Up North Pub are combining to have one amazing Great Taste Eve party.

  • Tyranena Brewery will be with us with 8 of their best, and we are going to have beer battered fish fry with their Rocky’s Revenge bourbon brown ale (believe it or not, it’s even better than it sounds). Outdoor and indoor seating, live music, great food, and boots upon boots of your favorite beer await you! Festivities start at 5pm. Featured special beer: Prom Date Cherry Saison.
  • Join Revolution Brewing for an Oktoberfest Release Party at the Essen Haus from 5:30-8:30pm which will feature their Oktoberfest (Marzen) and other specialty drafts.
  • Tallgrass Brewing’s  brewmasters are coming to Up North Pub from Kansas for a Tallgrass event.
  • Oskar Blues will also be at the Essen Haus.


3 Sheeps Brewing will be at Brass Ring debuting the new seasonal First Kiss Imperial IPA. Also, challenge them to a game of bags.

Lagunitas – 5 Lagunitas beers on tap paired with Carr Valley Cheese – 5pm

Founders – plenty of Founders rarities and surprises on tap – 7pm

Founders Happy Hour – all 5 taps and featuring Doom Imperial IPA– 2pm-6pm

New Holland / Dark Horse Brewing / Boulder Beer Co – 3pm

via New Holland Brewing:

The Tipsy Cow is hosting the Great Taste of the Midwest Pre-Party and joining us are Dark Horse Brewing and Boulder Brewing.   Sort of a “Beermuda Triangle” of awesomeness.

Get those livers in shape for the Great Taste by sampling some rare finds from all 3 breweries.  Special Kegs Include:

  • New Holland – Black Tulip, Beerhive and B.arrel of Monkeys
  • Dark Horse – It Smells Like a Safety Meeting & Mighty Peach Basil
  • Boulder – Red Wine Barrel Aged Mojo
  • Plus MORE!

Join brewery reps and friends who have traveled from afar to get lost in the Beermuda Triangle.

Featuring Milwaukee Brewing Company at 6pm. Beer line-up: Louie’s Demise (amber ale), Louie’s Resurrection (bourbon barrel-aged amber ale), Weekend @ Louies (tea-infused amber ale), O-Gii (Imperial Witbier), Doppelvision (bourbon barrel-aged doppelbock), and Anti-Matter (bourbon barrel-aged Schwarzbier). Owner Jim McCabe, lead brewers Kurt Mayes, and Brian Blazel will be there to answer questions and give away a ten-person VIP tour of the brewery.

Sand Creek (details to come)

Join Toppling Goliath for a Great Taste Takeover at Dexter’s Pub in Madison… Firkin on hand, and the Hop Patrol will bring some treats for you! Featuring a 3pm tapping of ZeeLander and a 9pm tapping of Assassin.

Brickhouse will once again be hosting our annual Great Taste Pre-Party and will feature beers from Central Waters and Shorts. The festivities are set to begin at 5pm and will continue on long into the night. You can expect to see several limited-release and reserve taps that will be available starting at different times throughout the evening. Last year we poured Central Waters Exodus, Barrel-Aged Slainte, Fourteen Fourteen, and numerous vintages of other barrel-aged beers alongside of Central Waters’ complete lineup of beers. Shorts will also be back again this year and will again bringing a wide selection of their unique and inspiring creations. We hope to see many of you back again this year to celebrate two of the Midwest’s finest breweries!

Pre-Great Taste Party – European Beer Fest
Come join us Friday, August 9th, for our Great Taste Pre-Party with some very special beer tappings. Since we are a European beer bar, we have decided to focus this year on what we do best and have procured some pretty cool and rare kegs for the evening. A few of the beers to be tapped are:
Ægir Lynchburg Natt from Norway – an Imperial Porter aged in Jack Daniels Barrels
Klokke Roeland – the house beer at the great bar Het Waterhuis in Ghent, Belgium
Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien – A great sour from Switzerland
Check back for additional kegs as we are expecting a couple big shipments the beginning of next week.

It is O’So time again at the Blue Moon, and they are pulling out all the stops. Come on in and sample some of the super secret brews Brew-master James “The Wedding Planner” Vokoun has pulled out of storage to celebrate the Taste! We don’t want to spoil the whole surprise, but you will see a Rye Barrel Aged Imperial Scotch Ale, and a sour Night Train Variant. And of course its a Friday, so enjoy some Ya-Da- Sun Weizen battered Fish Fry!

Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Lakefront Brewery are joining forces again with a joint tap takeover at the Rigby on Friday. Events will begin at 1 pm and continue until we just can’t!
Some notable beers from Lakefront include:
Rendezvous Ale, 25th Anniversary Belgian-Style Apricot Ale, My Turn Series: Chris (Maple Vanilla Doppelbock).
From GLBC:
Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter (Deschutes Collaboration), Silver & Gold India Pale Lager, Aloha Ale (Pub Exclusive)

Titletown Brewing, with Brewmaster David Oldenburg
Loose Caboose Belgian IPA, Berliner Weisse (with syrups), Polaris Pale Ale (100% polaris hops – brand new variety), Pullman Porter, Green 19
Beers will be on tap right when we open. Brewmaster appearance time TBD.


A firkin of Potosi Brewing’s Good Old Potosi made with peaches and mangoes and dry hopped with Australian Galaxy hops. Brewmaster Steve Buszka is on hand to serve you.


The Malt House will bring out a wooden-keg of Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke.

Paul’s Club will feature the Madison debut of Oskar Blues G’Knight Nitro at 8 pm.

The Great Taste pre party with Goose Island will be at Madison’s on Friday night starting at 5:00. Here is a list of some of the beers that will be on tap. There will also be others, but all beers are a limited quantity.
Matilda Lambicus
Sofie Paradisi
The Illinois
BCS Cherry Rye + 1 more BCS
Dark Traveler
Pepe Nero

The Bloomington Beer Bash with Destihl and Upland! Come for Beer Battered Fish Fry using Uplands Valley Weizen Hefe and enjoy beers from two breweries from two different Bloomingtons. All beers will be tapped prior to 5pm. Both breweries will have owner and brewmaster showing up at 6pm.
**Strawberry Blonde Ale
**Black Angel Stout
**Vertex West Coast IPA
**Deadhead Double Red Ale
**Abbey’s Single Belgian Style Ale
**Bourbon Barrel Age Rye Ale
**Double Dragon IPA
**Infinite WisdomTrippel
**Valley Weizen Hefe

Free samples of Bos Meadery meads and snacks from the Barriques Kitchens.
6:30 – 8:30pm

Enjoy Leinie’s on tap all evening and meet the Leinie’s brewers at The Echo at 6pm and The Ivory Room at 8pm
-Big Eddy Über Oktoberfest
-Big Eddy Ryewine
-Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
-Leinie Oktoberfest

August Schell Brewing Company will be tapping 2 Cask Conditioned Brews and 4 drafts of your favorite Schell’s Beers from 5-11pm. Meet the Brewmasters!

Potosi will be hosting a tap takeover with brewmaster Steve Buszka at Alchemy (including the unique Templeton Rye barrel aged Stinger Jack) Win tickets to the Potosi Brewfest and a Hop Head Beer Tour trip.

Friday, starting at 6 p.m.
Capital Brewery brewmaster Brian Destree will serve Capital beers on over 12 tap lines. Includes a special one-time only release of Capital Appleanche (a doppelbock made with apples). Try a Capital Dark infused with coffee, vanilla and mint. An even more hoppy Capsized Imperial IPA is planned as well.

Three Floyds Brewing special tappings of:
-Masonic Rite
-Evil Power
-Battle of Charro
-Name of Suffering
-Zombie Dust???

Featuring Mutniy IPA infused with pineapple and grapefruit at 5pm. Great Taste ticket drawing at 8pm.

An 8pm start time for Ale Asylum beers including a 4 year old Tripel Nova.

Featuring Bluegrass Brewing at 5pm.

An open house with brewmaster Page Buchannan.

Featuring Pearl Street tap takeover and a chance to walk out with 2 Great Taste tickets.

Bell’s Brewery tap takeover beginning at noon. Partial beer list is here.

  • Mason Lounge

The Blind Pig Brewery brewmaster Bill Morgan brings Brett Emeritus (an Old Ale made with Brettanomyces), Mysterious 274th Brew (Imperial stout brewed with vanilla and coffee beans), and a Belgian IPA hopped with Simcoe, Citra, and Centennial hops. 7pm

Featuring samples of Hydro Street Brewing beers. 2pm at Hilldale location and 4:30pm at the West location.

Joe Collins brings the  lineup of Furthermore beers. 5pm

Starting at 3:30, Great Taste ticket-holders who shows their ticket when purchasing their first beer will get a free One Barrel Tuxedo T-shirt to wear at the festival. Supply and size availability are limited, so arrive early. The limited  edition Great Taste beer is Beetlejuice! Beetlejuce! Beetlejuice!, an American pale ale made with beets grown in assistant brewer Dan Sherman’s garden.

MobCraft Beer brings a special tapping of Participation Pale Ale that has been cask conditioned with sumac. 4pm

Great Taste specials on the patio at Vintage Brewing. Mobile bars will feature rare and special-release brews from Sweet Mullets Brewing, The Grumpy Troll, One Barrel Brewing Company, House of Brews,  MobCraft, and of course, Vintage itself. As a special added bonus, Kirby Nelson of Wisconsin Brewing Company will be on hand with samples of one (or maybe two) of his latest trial batches.

5:00pm – 7:00pm at Madison-Watts location
Join our team in welcoming Dan Schwartz and Jim Pierson, founders of Lift Bridge Brewery (Stillwater, MN) for a pre-Great Taste of the Midwest beer tasting They will be sampling all the brews in their fantastic lineup including: FARM GIRL SAISON CROSSCUT PALE ALE CHESTNUT HILL BROWN ALE HOP DISH IPA We hope you can join us!

Join Samuel Adams Brewing Company at Roast from 6-9 pm and meet our brewer Kevin Spatz at 7pm. Kevin will pour limited release beers including Cherry Wheat and Double Bock.

Forequarter is hosting a late-night House of Brews Preparty on Friday night.

 Brewmaster/Owner Page Buchannan will be here from 11:30pm-1am with special treats to include:
  • 3 core beers: Prairie Rye, Bungalow Rye, & Kremlin
  • 3 bourbon/rye barreled beers: Snug Oatmeal Stout in an Old Fitzgerald Barrel, Standing Stones Scotch Ale in a 12yr Heaven Hill Barrel & a Belgian Dubbel in a Heaven Hill Rye Barrel
  • whiskey pairings with each of the core beers
  • 2 beer cocktails: one kegged with a British Pale, one made to order with Kremlin
  • We are extending our late night food menu until 1:30AM and will feature fresh Underground Butcher sausages made with Kremlin

Saturday August 10

Great Taste of the Midwest at Olin Park. 1-6 pm

Sunday August 11

Greenbush Bar
Greenbush Bar presents the 1st annual “Hair of the dog” Italian style brunch.
Buffet style with Italian meats, cheeses, smoked fish and more.

Featuring Central Waters 2013 release of Peruvian Morning Coffee Stout! Also:
-Bourbon Barrel Stout
-Hop Rise
-Brewhouse Coffee Stout

Tickets are $16.50 + service fees
Cost of ticket covers food only. Beer and a full bar are additional.
Parking available across the street at the medical center

Purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets for $16.50 (+ service fee) which is good for food only. Cash bar with specials on beer flights. Space is limited so sign up now!