Everyone knows Chicagoans love to head north to Wisconsin in the summer (the interstate will tell you so). There is a new Biergarten in Madison at Olbrich Park that is not to be missed. It's located along Lake Monona and offers a fetching view of the Wisconsin State Capitol and skyline. The Biergarten shares the beach house with Rutabaga Paddlesports, renting out kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. http://www.rutabaga.com/rentals
Bring an appetite, because the Biergarten sells huge pretzels, Nurnburg-style brats, fresh cheese curds, and hummus with veggies/pita. Whet your whistle with a choice of 12 tap lines including 10 craft beers, one cider, and one root beer soda. The venue only sells beer from Wisconsin-based breweries, and you can sample four at a time with a flight. Patrons are allowed to bring in their own food or have it delivered, and Wednesday is food truck night with a different cart each week.
There is a small terrace next to the beach house, as well as an ample patio near the water complete with communal tables and sizable trees. Be prepared to unwind with a cool lake breeze and killer sunsets. In addition, you can challenge your peers to a game of cornhole or giant Jenga while the kids live it up in the large sandbox.
The Biergarten hosts weekly events, so be sure to check out the line-up on their website. Trust me when I say, one visit won't be enough (you might want to get an I-Pass).