top of page

Viking Brew Pub

Stoughton, WI


Crusin' Rating: C

Booze Rating: D

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Alcohol Blogger- Viking Brewpub- Exterior

Just 25 minutes south of Madison right on Main St. in Stoughton, WI sits Viking Brewpub, a family spot serving up food and brews to anyone looking for a friendly spot to grab lunch or dinner. Viking Brewpub, both instances we have been there, seems to be a family-friendly spot that has tap beers made on sight, but also serves up a full menu which means it falls directly into the category “brewpub” as its name suggests. While we didn’t opt for food this time around, instead taking a friend’s suggestion of the nearby Wendigo, we have eaten there before.

This time, we were on a mission, a beer mission.

Inside Viking Brewpub you’ll find what might be the most unique bar in Wisconsin. The apex of this triangular bar is a hand-carved figurehead off the bow of a Viking long ship, complete with scales, teeth, and yes, even smoke that pours forth from the sea serpent’s wooden jaws if you’re lucky. Is it maybe a little gimmicky? Maybe, but as someone who becomes more impressed with woodworking as I get older, I can’t help but appreciate the amount of care that went into making something like this. The rest of the bar is wooden, but I don’t believe it’s hand carved. The acute triangle shape has always made for a cramped bar, in my opinion, but without it, it wouldn’t really feel like the bow of a ship, so I can understand the choice. The rest of the room has mostly low tables and seats around 30. There is a, what looks like a banquet room, or extra seating room off to the right when you enter the brewpub, but neither Hannah nor I have figured out its intended use. The brewpub doesn’t feature much in the decor department, outside of some holiday items but that’s also somewhat understandable due to the large centerpiece bar that really dominates the space.

The staff at Viking are always extremely friendly and chatty, especially the bartender. It’s a family run spot and I believe the bartender was part of that family as she chatted with us and gave us tidbits of information as we ordered our beers. Wine is available, as are cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. We opted for a flight that $14, quite expensive as flights go.

Svart Bier (6.0% ABV) - This dark lager was a deep brown with just a touch of red when held to the light. What I believe to be an example of a Czech dark lager, this beer smelled slightly sweet, almost of candied plums couples with toasted malt nutiness. I picked up toast, nuts, some definite maillard (think charred bread crust) and some unsweetened coffee. I would say a definite hop forwardness in the finish that ends crisply but the hops may have been a little too heavy for this style, moving away from what should be moderate at most. I would also say that the hop flavors were rather floral as opposed to spicy like I expected. While this beer hit some of the notes the style should, neither Hannah or I were big fans.

Summer Bock (8.0% ABV) - This beer was a rich brown and smelled of peanut butter to Hannah, and unsalted raw peanut shells to me. There are a lot of bocks, some of which I am a major fan of, like a Helles (see Delafield Brewhaus) but I was not quite sure what they were going for here. It was definitely not a Helles. Based on what Hannah and I picked up when smelling and the fact that both of us tasted distinct notes of a 50% dark chocolate, with some slight bitterness and a light hop presence I can’t really quite put my finger on the style they were going for. I want to say this is some form of Doppelbock that perhaps didn’t quite hit the mark. It had the off-white head, the brown that almost had some hints of red in it (like the Svart Bier) and some chocolate in there. However I have no idea what the peanut butter is all about when it comes to categorizing this beer. That aside, this was not one of our super rich stouts that ends up tasting like you drank dessert. It was not sweet enough, deep enough, or hoppy enough to support these savory flavors we found. Hannah and I both would skip this one next time.

French Fried Cutie ( 9.0% ABV) - This Belgian Blonde had a dubious name that we did not hear the story on but was a definite uptick in this tasting. Polished oak in color, this beer had orange zest, baking spice, and some cracker malt when smelling. A little bit of baking spice when it first hits your tongue, followed by some orange-cherry notes with a little honey sweetness and finishes with a small blast of hops that tapers off softly. This beer is a definite solid example of the style, if a little on the sweet side, since Hannah and I both missed out on pepper-spice and most of the bitterness when tasting.

Bringebaer (9.0% ABV) - This Imperial Raspberry (“Bringebaer" in Norwegian) Cream Ale was cranberry red with medium-high clarity. It smelled of pressed raspberry juice and tastes exactly like it smelled. The malt here was neutral, and creamy and it helped break up the pretty aggressive flavor of the raspberry tartness. Hannah and I disagreed on this one, with her suggesting it’s a great summer beer, as cream ales usually are. I, however, thought it would make an excellent holiday offering to break up the usual spiced cranberry offerings. Either way, this beer was straight forward and one-note, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Beer Wine Blogger- Viking Brew Pub- Metal Art

In all, despite the very friendly bartender and that great centerpiece of a Viking long ship we’ve been here twice and it was just okay both times. The staff are always great and the food is serviceable as is the beer. However, past the initial time we were there, I don’t really feel the excitement when going to this spot. It’s a straightforward, family friendly restaurant with a Norwegian theme that does some of its own beer and in all it’s just an “okay” spot. It’s close to Madison, and it’s close to quite a few brewpubs and I feel like this one just sort of falls by the wayside without something such as a unique beer or killer wings, you know, something like that, to help it really stand out. You’ve got the Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company, Vintage Brewing Company, and now Hop Haus Brewing Company to contend with and while this one is very local and family owned, which we love, it’s just an alright spot. I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend driving out to Stoughton to try it, even from Madison, unless you, like us, are really hardcore beer nerds and want to try everything you can.

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

To learn more about Viking Brew Pub, please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @VikingBrewPub or on Instagram: @VikingBrewPub

34 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page