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Hop Haus Brewing Company

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Fitchburg, WI

 

Crusin Rating: C-

Booze Rating: C-

 
Outside picture of Hop Haus Brewing Co

Madison, WI is absolutely packed to the brim with imbibement options with Sixteen breweries, three distilleries, two cideries, a winery and a meadery all within the city limits and near a dozen more just a 20 minute drive away. It’s very tight competition in the Madison area when it comes to breweries. This week we are looking at Hop Haus Brewing Company; one of three breweries with multiple locations in the Madison area (the others being Vintage and Great Dane Brewing Company).


I think it’s fair to mention both Vintage Brewing Company and The Great Dane Pub and Brewing here since this appears to be the same clientele that Hop Haus is seeking with it’s newly opened brewpub in Fitchburg. Since Hop Haus is more of a brewpub than a brewery we are going to approach our review a little differently. We can’t really hold it against a place like this that we don’t get to sit and chat with the owner or head brewer. The last thing we want to do on a busy night is play twenty questions with beleaguered staff.


While this review for the most part is going to be referring to the new spot in Fitchburg, all of us at Crusin For Booze have been to the original location in Verona on more than one occasion. The space is, of course, clean and new. Although large I would classify the decor as a somewhat cozy industrial (are you all noticing a decor trend in breweries around Wisconsin yet?). The dining area features garage doors that were lifted during our visit, surrounded by exposed brick and there was ample green space outside of those garage doors that was home to one or fire braziers, a lawn game or two (although we can’t confirm ownership of those to the brewery) and some seating. People were encouraged to bring their own seating for the green space which was interesting, I guess I’d prefer to not have to bring my own chairs to a place as well established as this. We were there on a Thursday and live music was just starting as we left. Since food is available dogs are, unfortunately, not allowed. Although dogs are allowed at the Verona location, if that is more what you are looking for.


We ordered a flight of four 5 oz. pours and since we had both just gotten off of work, food as well.


4 5oz beer flight at Hop Haus Fitchburg
Pictured Left to Right: Sweet Sunglasses, Plaid Panther, 1 Star Review, Stacation

For $14 I got a cheese steak and fries while Hannah ordered a Falafel Sandwich and Tater Tots for $12. As you can tell by the prices, we were definitely in a standard brewpub. As we say time and again, we are not a food blog but my cheese steak was dubious to say the least, greasy and unflavorful. She enjoyed her tots but said the Falafel could be better and that anyone would be making a better choice by visiting a certain Mediterranean food cart that frequents the area (cough, Banzo). We’ve seen a lot of brewpubs and they are like the majority of the taverns around the state. You know what kind of food you’re in for and what price you’re going to pay for it. Meh.


Falafel and Tots for dinner
Falafel and Tots

On to the beer though, which is what we went there for in the first place and most likely why you come here to our blog!


Sweet Sunglasses - (5.3% ABV): This blonde was okay, burnt straw color in appearance with a sweet malty taste. High CO2 content gave this clear beer a fresh, clean feeling but overly too sweet. One of my least favorite blondes but Hannah enjoyed this one so maybe you will too!


Plaid Panther - (8% ABV: I love scotch but I do not like scotch ale. If we only reviewed things we like though, we wouldn’t appeal to a very large audience. Dark in appearance with a very malty, slight smokey scent. I thought this beer tasted of burnt caramel, overcooked instead of that deep sweet and smoke I wanted. A thick yet smooth mouthfeel, this beer finished dry. I realize while it’s not for me, I think it’s worth putting in your flight if you end up here.


1 Star Review (8.2 % ABV): Again, another for the readers as I am not a big IPA guy. Without spending too much time on them, they are overdone and everyone has at least four on their menu. This Hazey Double IPA is dark gold in appearance with citrus notes on the nose, medium CO2 and of course tastes highly hoppy but finishes sweet with the taste of strawberry syrup. Interesting to say the very least and probably better than a one star review.


Staycation (5% ABV): A Mexican style lager that would have perhaps been better left alone. I’ve met few and far between who prefer corona as their go-to beer and it’s always covered up with a lime because the taste is so rough. This beer was straw colored, tasted like someone dropped corn pops into my beer and let it sit with a dry finish but overall was harsh to my tastebuds. Stick with Corona if that’s your thing.


I always feel bad about not loving things that are local to us in Madison. How much of the ingredients are local I don’t know but I do know it’s locally owned. Honestly, I have never been wild about Hop Haus, even with the first iteration in Verona, WI. I had gone there infrequently due to convenience to my job at the time but never thought much of the beer. I hate to say it but I feel the same way about the food. The space is nice, but commercial and nothing very unique jumps out at you. There are definite points given for the fact that there is indoor-outdoor space available and that it’s clean but overall it feels more like a family restaurant and the beer is playing second fiddle to everything else.


If you live in the area, you can stop by, but it would not make the top ten of our Madison Area Brewery List.


Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!


To learn more about Hop Haus please visit their website: hophausbrewing.com, or on Facebook at: @HopHausBrewingCompany or on Instagram at: @hophausbrewing

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