We know that beer isn't just a beverage, it's a culture. That's why we don't judge anyone for planning a getaway around beer. In fact, we welcome it. Especially the second Saturday of every August when Great Taste of the Midwest kicks off on the shores of Lake Monona bringing more than 200 of the best breweries in the country together to celebrate their favorite drink with more than 1,400 beers to sample, food and live music. 

But this annual beer festival isn't the only way to celebrate during Great Taste weekend. Bars and breweries across the city celebrate with Great Taste Eve events and special menus. And the Madison On Tap Craft Beverage Trail keeps the fun going by guiding you through the best breweries, distilleries and cideries in Madison and offering discounts and prizes along the way. 

We always encourage enjoying Madison's craft beer responsibly. Book your hotel now to limit travel and take advantage of local rideshare programs and Great Taste shuttles while you're here.

What is Great Taste of the Midwest?

Great Taste of the Midwest is an annual beer festival that invites hundreds of brewers each year to showcase the best of their brews with hundreds of fans. It's held the second Saturday in August annually at Olin Park on the shores of Lake Monona, featuring some of the best views of Madison's skyline.

Tickets to the festival include unlimited 2 oz samples from all the breweries in attendance. Often the brewers are onsite pouring beers, which means you can meet the people behind your favorite beverages and learn more about what makes them special. Tickets are sold only in advance. No tickets are available at the door. 

Great Taste is a beer festival for all. No really, there are beers for everyone to enjoy regardless of dietary lifestyles. That means plenty of gluten-free and non-alcoholic beer options to sample. There are also discounted ticket prices available for designated drivers which includes unlimited soft drinks.

You'll enjoy a taste of Madison's culinary scene during the festival thanks to local and regional food trucks.

Parking and transportation

There is no parking at Olin Park, but that's OK. There are plenty of walkable hotels, public transportation and shuttle options available. Visit the Great Taste website to learn more. 

What is Great Taste Eve?

Many breweries both participating and not participating in Great Taste of the Midwest have found a way to make the celebration of beer last longer with Great Taste Eve. Breweries partner with bars, other breweries and restaurants across Madison to host tasting events, special menus and other fun activations that make it one of the greatest nights of the year to explore new places to eat and drink in Madison. 

Great Taste Eve is a fun way for anyone who doesn't have a ticket to Great Taste to participate in this mega celebration of hops, grains, yeast and water.

What if I Want to Plan my Own Beer Getaway?

You're in luck. Madison On Tap is just what you need. Our pass to beer, bubbles, bourbon and beyond guides you through some of Madison's best breweries, cideries and distilleries and offers access to exclusive discounts. We're talking dollar-off drafts, BOGO beers and more. 

Along the way, you can earn points to cash in toward awesome prizes like stickers, hats, bottle openers and more. 

You can sign up for Madison On Tap and enjoy any time, or use it as a compliment to your Great Taste weekend.

Where Should I Stay?

Whether you're coming to Madison for Great Taste or enjoying your own self-led beer getaway, there are some great places to stay that are walkable and comfortable to help you enjoy your time responsibly. 

Near Great Taste of the Midwest:

Near Local Breweries, Distilleries and Cideries: