Tap into the Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus

Tap into the Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus
All-Wisconsin Fare: The haddock fish fry and a snifter of the Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Old Reliable (left); owner Jack Sosnowski (right).

1. The Backstory: You may recognize the Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus as the former Capital Tap Haus, but owner Jack Sosnowski can assure you it is more than a name change. After a long friendship with Carl Nolen and Kirby Nelson—the CEO and brewmaster of the Wisconsin Brewing Company—Sosnowski wanted to incorporate the beer into a creative concept that showcases one brewery on the menu. “Once they opened the brewery in Verona, it was kind of always in the back of my mind,” says Sosnowski. “It’s a good change.”

2. The Vibe: Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus is in State Street’s second-oldest building, according to Sosnowski. It is a turn-of-the-century beer hall with all the makings of a modern-day Sconnie haunt with old and new influences. Brewmaster Nelson calls it an inviting and relaxed place to hang out with friends.

3. The Menu: The all-from-scratch kitchen means folks enjoy fresh sauces and dressings. They hand-batter cheese curds and fish. Nearly everything is sourced locally, and every dish is beer-inspired and paired with beer.

4. The Must-Try: Sosnowski admits he’s a burger guy, yet he orders the fried haddock fish fry every week. Order the Reuben rolls made with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese and fried inside a wonton wrapper. Another fan favorite is the “Go Big Red!” beer cheese soup with Wisconsin cheddar and Inaugural Red Ale (developed by brewing students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison).

5. The Bottom Line: Whether the Tap Haus serves downtown dwellers or tourists, it dishes up Wisconsin daily and focuses on the ever-thirsty craft brew drinker. “Today, the consumer is writing the business plan,” says Nelson. “It’s a different day.”