Wisconsin is known for cheese, and better yet, cheese curds. You know I love a good deep fried cheese curd. Perfectly battered, melty cheese, served with a side of house-made ranch dressing. I visited Madison recently to try out more of their deep fried cheese curds AND get some deals using their Madison On Tap Craft Beverage Trail.
Every order of curds I ate were delicious, and each craft beer I tried paired perfectly. Let’s take a little adventure, shall we?
Lone Girl Brewing
Lone Girl Brewing in Waunakee has been brewing their own beer since 2016. Their cheese curds are made with muenster cheese and battered with Lone Girl beer. I paired the curds with their new Orange Pop Cream Ale which was super tasty. Madison On Tap gets you BOGO on beer, don't forget to use it!
Starkweather Brewing Company
Starkweather has only been open about a year, but they know what they are doing when it comes to beer and cheese curds. These curds are also made with muenster cheese and served with homemade ranch. They have jalapeno ranch, too, which I LOVED. I paired my cheese with their HOP-MYHZ Hazy IPA beer. Madison On Tap gets you BOGO on beer here, too!
Vintage Brewing Company
Vintage Brewing has three locations in the Madison area. I visited the location near Capitol Square and it was a vibe. We were there during brunch time and the menu looked absolutely fantastic. Their curds are breaded, not battered, and the cheese is from Ellsworth Creamery. The breading was nice and thick–just like the ranch. Madison On Tap gets you $1 off of one of their beers!
Now we headed down to Capitol Square to check out the curds at Coopers Tavern. Coopers uses Pabst Blue Ribbon in their batter which makes the curds nice and crispy. They are made with Ellsworth Creamery cheese and served with their homemade ranch.
A few blocks away from Coopers Tavern is a pretty hip spot called Merchant. It is a very chic spot and their curds are made to match. They are battered in buttermilk, perfectly melty and served with ranch & hot honey. I’m a ranch gal, but the hot honey was a nice touch.
Lucille was decorated so wonderfully for the holiday season. I had not been here previously, but I was extremely impressed. Their cheese curds did not disappoint either. The cheese for these curds comes from Cedar Grove and they are served with marinara and ranch. The marinara came out piping hot and was a great addition to the cheese curds.
I ended the day at Fromagination, an artisan cheese shop on the square. Even though they don't have deep fried curds, they have numerous other cheese options to choose from. In addition to cheeses, there are locally made items such as jam, wine and crackers. It is a great spot to purchase gifts or to stock up on your favorite cheese.
There's no shortage of great cheese curds in the capital city. Want to expand your cheese adventure? We recommend these spots, too.
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company
With four locations in the area, you're never far from Great Dane's Old Glory Cheese Curds. Hand-battered in American Pale Ale, these Ellsworth curds melt in your mouth and will certainly leave you wanting more.
Pro tip: Don't forget to check into Madison On Tap when you go and get BOGO beers!
In addition to grilling up some killer burgers, Tipsy Cow's cheese curd game is strong. Battered in one of Wisconsin's finest craft beers, Spotted Cow, these curds often rank at the top of many locals' lists – and for good reason.
Known for its wide-ranging menu and use of locally-sourced ingredients, Graze serves up what some would consider "gourmet" cheese curds. Using fresh curds from Hook's Cheese in Mineral Point, Graze dusts the cheesy nuggets in a vodka batter before deep-frying them. These are some can't-miss curds.
The Old Fashioned
Located on the Capitol Square, The Old Fashioned has local favorite, house-made, beer-battered curds served with a side of paprika sauce certainly won't disappoint. They were even voted best cheese curds in America by USA Today.
Dotty Dumpling's Dowry
Established in 1969, Dotty Dumpling's Dowry has been serving award-winning burgers for decades. And when you order one of said burgers, you had better order a side of cheese curds to go with it. These breaded, deep-fried, white cheddar curds served with ranch and honey mustard are a must.
Craftsman Table & Tap
Nestle in for an homage to craft. Everything at Craftsman Table & Tap is an honor to those who take pride in craft. The Carr Valley curds embrace the artisan mentality. Delicious, local Carr Valley cheese – located in Middleton – is battered in Surly Helles Lager and served with house-made buttermilk dressing.