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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Saturday Afternoon Taste Test: Madison Brewing Co.

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, October 29, 2006

Madison Brewing Co. Turkey-Cranberry Melt sandwich
Bennington, Vt. - How about lunch -or dinner- with a bit of "Sucker Pond Blonde?"

How 'Bout A Brew?

The Madison Brewing Co. restaurant offers extremely varied menus for afternoon and evening dining. Those who are at least 21 years old may indulge in the pub's special, brewed-on-the-premises beers and ales including "a light German bier brewed with saaz hops[named "Sucker Pond Blonde]," "Buck's Honey Wheat," described as an "American wheat beer brewed with real Vermont honey," and "Old 76 Strong Ale," promoted as "a rich English Yorkshire style ale with fruity undertones and a smooth finish."

The brewing equipment is housed inside the eatery and patrons may see the vats and pipes that brew the beverages.

Because I was on the job, I did not sample any of the pub-produced beers or the also-available commercial beer and wine selections.

My husband and I did eat....very well.

B-I-G Menu

Madison's lunch menu is chock-full of choices.


Beer-battered onion rings
A "deli board" menu allows patrons to create made-to-order sandwiches using roast beef, turkey, pastrami, tuna salad or bacon-lettuce-and-tomatoes wedged between slices of sourdough, pumpernickel, Jewish rye, Italian, foccacia, or marble bread, or a salsa tortilla and topped with a choice of six cheese options, seven condiment choices, and seven add-ons, such as sprouts or avocado.

Most "deli board" sandwiches are priced at $6.50.

Salads include blackened chicken salad [$8.25], "Bob's Buffalo Salad," which includes beer-battered, deep-fried chicken tossed in wing sauce and served over greens and veggies with bleu cheese dressing [$8.25], and a tabouli salad [$6.99].

"Lite Fare" choices include a "brewer's dozen" ale-steamed mussels served with a garlic-cream sauce [$7.50], pub nachos [$7.99], hummus dip served with carrots, celery and Syrian bread [$.699], and "chicken pesto tenders" fried and topped with pesto and melted cheese and served with honey djon mustard [$5.99].

Sides include fries [$1.99], garlic cheese bread [$3.99], potato salad[$3.99], and coleslaw [$1.99].

I ordered a side of beer-battered onion rings [$3.99] to accompany my "Specialty Sandwiches" choice of a turkey cranberry melt open-faced sandwich [$8.50].

Sandwich Satisfaction Soars

The sandwich is advertised as made with "fresh sliced turkey," and it is. The turkey is perched atop a slice of marble bread and smothered with portabello mushrooms, tomatoes and sprouts with a slathering of a creamy, tangy cranberry mayonnaise. The sandwich is covered with cheddar cheese and avocado, then baked. A spring greens salad and a side of whole-berry cranberry sauce accompany the meal.

This sandwich sent my taste buds soaring to new heights of satisfaction. The turkey remained moist during the baking, the cheese was flavorful and the cranberry mayonnaise was used to enhance the flavors, not disguise them.

Triple "E" For Excellent

My husband ordered a meatloaf lunch [$9.25] offered as part of a "Pub Grub" menu section. The meal arrived as a generously-sized slice of meatloaf covered with gravy and accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and apple chutney.

Meatloaf lunch at Madison Brewing Co. restaurant in Bennington, Vt.


As some readers may know from previous reviews, my husband has a short, sweet, and to the point manner of describing food; meals are "good," "very good," "excellent," and [ most often when I am the chef] "it's OK, I'm not much on [fill in the blank]."

His meal at Madison's generated "excellents" across the plate, and he was especially happy with the potatoes.

We both enjoyed the onion rings. There were enough for us to share and the onions inside the batter were firm and tasty.

We Tried, But We Couldn't Do It

We were left without a smidgen of room for dessert. The eatery does have a dessert menu that changes from day to day but most often offers apple pie, apple caramel pecan pie, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and cheesecake. A current seasonal offering is a pumpkin cheesecake.

Our bill totaled $24.74 before adding the Vermont state tax.

Lots of Lunch

Additional lunch menu "specialty sandwiches" include "The Green Mile" served open-face on farm bread and made with guacamole, sprouts, portabello mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese [$6.99], tuna melt, served on sourdough bread with sliced tomatoes and havarti dill-flavored cheese [$6.99], and a "California Club" served on pumpernickel bread topped with avocado, lettuce, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, sprouts, tarragon mayonnaise, pepper jack and provolone cheese and served with a spring greens salad [$8.50].

"Pub Grub" lunch choices include fish-and-chips [$10.99], "bangers and mash," which is two mild English sausages served with garlic mashed potatoes and apple chutney [$8.99], and "Buffalo Bob's Bison Burger," which is made with regionally raised bison meat "cooked to your liking" and served with lettuce, tomato, and french fries [$7.99].

Madison's lunch menu offers a menu designed exclusively for and made available only to children under age 12 and seniors.

Dinner Is Served

A review of the eatery's dinner menu shows eight appetizer choices, including shrimp cocktail made with five "Colossal Pacific Coast Shrimp," [$8.99] and fried calamari [$7.99]. "Brewmaster Favorites" include "Jack Daniels Sirloin Steak," [$18.99], prime rib [17.99], chicken parmesan [$12.99] and wild mushroom ravioli [$14.99].

A "Pub Grub" menu is available as part of the dinner menu, as is a kids and seniors menu. High chairs and booster seats are available.

Diners Should Know...

The service at Madison's was exceptional. "Brenda", our server, was very pleasant and able to provide information about the food and the pub immediately upon being asked. The restaurant filled with patrons during our meal; the waitstaff seemed capable of handling the volume and not at all overwhelmed.

Madison's does not accept personal checks. The restaurant does not permit separate checks for groups of six or larger and an 18 percent gratuity [tip] is added to meal checks for groups of six or more.

The Madison Brewing Co., 428 Main St., opens at 11:30 a.m. seven days a week. For final seating times and additional information, call 802-442-7397.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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