Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods


Madison’s Capital Brewery

capital brewery sign

Several times before, I’ve mentioned that May is a great time to embark on an adventure! I like the month of May, cold as it sometimes may be here in the Midwest. May brings back a verdant green to the landscape and chases the harshness of winter blues back to the depths of one’s memory, replaced by hopes for mellow breezes and warmth to return. This weekend we’re headed to Madison to visit Capital Brewery!

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In addition, schools are still in session in May and the roads have not yet filled with the traffic of summer vacation. With a bit of advance planning, great adventures are available at many locations that are not much farther away than a tank-full of gasoline will carry you and return you home again.

Getting to Capital Brewery

We left Geneva, Illinois at about 10:00am on a Friday morning; just over two hours later we checked in to the Staybridge Suites hotel, located in Middleton.

A requested early check-in helped give us the additional time we had needed to unwind a bit in the hotel’s spa. Then, we headed out for a tour of the Capital Brewery, just a quick 5-minute drive from the hotel. Capital was founded on March 14, 1984, in a building that housed a former egg processing plant and produced its first beer in the spring of 1986.

brewery tour

Our smiling, knowledgeable and friendly tour guide Kyle, informed us that Capital was a “craft brewery”. Capital is relatively small in size, producing about 22,000 barrels annually and distributing to only three states.

Nonetheless, it is referred to, according to their website, as “the finest lager brewery in America. This opinion is supported by the fact that Capital Brewery was named the #1 Brewery in America at the 1998 Beverage Testing Institute’s World Beer Championships in Chicago, IL.” (If you are a fan of lager beer – I definitely am – you will certainly like Capital’s beer.)

The tour itself was fairly short; punctuated with the occasional delivery of pitchers of several of the brewery’s beers, it was informative and fun. Impressively, the place is extremely clean. My only suggestion would be for Kyle to talk a bit louder, as it was difficult to hear him at times when we were not standing right next to him. After the tour, we stopped outside at the just-opened Bier Garten. This is a great place to enjoy some Friday afternoon libations.

outdoor beer garden

The Bier Garten

A huge outdoor patio area has room for a crowd and live entertainment is featured every Friday. Tours, by the way, are only $3 and include a tasting and 3-ounce sample mug to take home! Kudos to Kirby Nelson, Brewmeister since September 1987, and to Ashley Kinart. Responsible for the fine lager beers produced at Capital, Capital can now boast of up to 16 different beers per year. They offer eight annuals, four seasonals, and up to four limited releases.

In addition to the outdoor Bier Garten, the brewery also houses a Gift Haus (lots of neat clothing and souvenirs) and a Bier Stube. The Bier Stube cozy room for sampling or for anyone to use for a private party. For more info, contact the Brewery directly at (608) 836-7100, or simply visit the website at The brewery is definitely a must if you are anywhere near the Madison, Wisconsin area!

Read about our choice that night for a Friday fish fry in Middleton!

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl