I’ve heard about it, and managed finally to steal away from the weekend Ohio River Valley Music Festival along the Madison, Indiana riverfront to try it out.
“It” is McQuiston’s Malthouse, where the hard working folks are flying under the regional” good beer” radar. Given that McQuiston’s (pronounced McHouston’s) is a “mom ‘n’ pop” establishment with the young owners pulling most of the evening’s only business hours, there’s not much time for self-promotion.
If you’re approaching Madison’s amazing downtown historic district on State Road 56, the highway becomes Main Street, and McQuiston’s is on the right side just before you reach the center.
605 W. Main Street is an attractively restored old commercial building with an appropriate past. It was constructed more than a decade before the Civil War and originally housed the Crystal Brewery. Scotsman William McQuiston operated the brewery during its short life, and afterwards, many businesses held forth at the address until the current owners opened the Malthouse in 2001.
The interior is open and high-ceilinged, with a design that acknowledges the building’s age but is otherwise contemporary. It’s a non-smoking and kid-friendly eatery with a wall separating the bar area from the family seating. The bar itself is small; perhaps ten stools, with all taps visible and the bottled selection on display.
I counted ten taps (including Sprecher Root Beer) and 24 bottled beers, with American-made microbrews comprising the vast majority of the selections. Drafts I sampled during two separate visits included Boulder Hazed & Infused, Founders Centennial IPA and Two Brothers Domaine Dupage French Country Ale.
After 11 bone-crunching hours serving beer at the folk festival on Saturday, four of us adjourned to McQuiston’s for a long-awaited sit-down meal.
Culinary choices might be described as pub grub meets bistro, and ours ranged from Roasted Vegetable Marinara pasta to a fish sandwich., salads and my 14-oz New York Strip, and while the Two Brothers was perfectly nice with the perfectly cooked beef, I erred in not drinking a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza with it.
Bibulous readers already know Madison as the home of the Thomas Family Winery, and now there’s a good beer outpost to add to the list of reasons for soaking up the civic ambience.
And, yes, I’m trying to crunch the logistics in the hope that NABC can supply McQuiston’s with beer for one of its taps. Seems that would provide an excellent excuse for dropping in more often.
605 W. Main
Madison, IN 47250
Opens at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.