Tours & Tastings
When you visit Madison, Wisconsin, you’ll quickly discover the distinct benefits of being in a state with a strong agricultural heritage. From breweries and wineries to ice cream and artisan cheese, our craft culture and farm-to-table philosophies are simply part of what we do—and we can’t wait to share it with you! Read on to learn more about opportunities to try tasting & tour experiences, as well as annual events, the next time you’re in town.
Curated Food Tours*
Not sure where to start? Let us play the part of tour guide! Try one of Madison’s many curated tours that combine food and drink with tons of fun (and a little exercise, too!).
Capital City Food Tours: These three-hour walking tours are guaranteed to feed your appetite—and your mind! Explore Madison history and architecture while taste-testing your way through iconic eateries on the Around the Square tour.
Hop Head Tours: Take a fun, safe and educational bus or bike tour that will introduce you to multiple breweries, wineries and distilleries! Small-group tours run Thursdays-Sundays and are themed by topic such as the Country Roads Bus Tour or the seasonal Terrifying Tour.
Madison Eats Food Tours: Take a food tour by BCycle! Our city’s bike-share program paired up with Madison Eats to help you explore neat neighborhoods where you can taste local, seasonal foods and get a chance to meet the chefs, farmers and artisans who make it all happen.
Madison Food Explorers: These downtown Madison tours are led by teachers, historians and event planners who can’t wait to share the stories behind Madison’s rich restaurant culture and city history. There are three tour categories—Lake to Lake, Friday Happy Hour and Sunday Brunch—and each stop includes meal-like portions.
*Note that tickets or reservations must be made in advance for all tours; private and charter events are also offered.
Create-Your-Own Tastings & Tours
If you prefer to explore breweries, wineries and distilleries at your own pace, read on for a few recommendations.
ALT Brew: This brewery has the only dedicated gluten-free brewery and kitchen in Wisconsin. The taproom is open five days a week and features three beers year-round, plus seasonal and limited-edition offerings. While you're there, try for a high score on one of the games in the pinball arcade!
Ale Asylum: Their tasting room has dozens of beers on tap, from new seasonals to hometown favorites like Madtown Nut Brown. Six, on-the-hour brewery tours are offered on Sundays starting at noon. At your leisure, enjoy the two-story patio and a full dining menu daily (11 a.m.-10 p.m.).
Great Dane: More than 14 beers are brewed onsite at this original location, which also features a picturesque, private beer garden in the heart of downtown Madison where you can enjoy flights ranging from 4 to 10 sampler pours. (More area locations: East, Fitchburg and Hilldale.)
New Glarus Brewing Company: Self-guided tours of this hilltop brewery are free year-round and Hard Hat Tours are also offered on Fridays. Any time you visit, enjoy tasting room samples or a pint in the outdoor courtyard that overlooks scenic New Glarus.
Wisconsin Brewing Company: This Verona-based brewery offers free tours that take you through the heart of their brewing operations. Learn more about their unique educational collaboration with UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences program by taste-testing a S’Wheat Caroline American Wheat Ale in the brewery’s taproom or at the backyard bar that overlooks a picturesque pond.
Want to try more local beers from one stool? Stop into Hopcat Madison, Wisconsin’s largest craft beer bar which offers a “Local 30” section of tappers dedicated to beers brewed in Greater Madison and throughout the state.
Cambridge Winery: Try a tasting room experience in two different locations: Cambridge (where there’s also an Event Center) and on Whitney Way in Madison. Both offer locally-produced boutique wines and hand-selected varieties from California’s Central Coast. Wine dinners are also offered!
Vetro Winery: This winery, located in Jefferson between Madison and Milwaukee, honors a Sicilian family tradition of winemaking for 125 years! Tastings are offered daily and on major holidays. Or, simply relax and “un-wine” on the outdoor patio with a breathtaking view.
Wollersheim Winery & Distillery: This historic limestone winery has a 160-year history, and is situated on the picturesque southern slopes overlooking the Wisconsin River. Tours and tastings are offered weekdays and weekends, and conclude with a sampling of Wollersheim’s distinctive wines.
J. Henry & Sons Wisconsin Straight Bourbon: Every bottle of bourbon from J. Henry is made in small batches and slow-aged a minimum of five years. Visit this third-generation, rustic seed corn farm in northern Dane County for tours, nosing, tastings, cocktails and bottle sales.
Old Sugar Distillery: This distillery—started by a UW-Madison grad—takes its name from Madison’s history of beet sugar production and as such, the spirits produced use many local ingredients. Tours and tastings are free (Thursdays-Saturdays), but arrival prior to 7:30 p.m. is encouraged.
Yahara Bay Distillers: This family-owned business was Madison’s first small batch distillery and today, produces more than 20 products. Sample them all at the Public House tasting room or try a tour (free on Thursdays). Private tours are also available by appointment.
Wollersheim Winery & Distillery: Distilling at Wollersheim dates back to the 1800s but after the Prohibition, Wisconsin wineries couldn’t legally distill until 2009. In 2013, Wollersheim released its first Coquard Brandy and today, Spirits Tastings are offered daily. On weekends, try the new Guided Tasting Experience.
Annual Tasting Events
Don’t miss these food-and-drink-focused festivals that honor a love of local ingredients and the craft of creating great dairy, beer, wine, spirits and more!