If you've ever been to Minneapolis, one thing (among many) the cities do very well is outdoor beer and food options near their lakes and bodies of water - Minnehaha Falls (Sea Salt), Lake Minnetonka (CoV), Lake Calhoun (Tin Fish), etc. They have a culture of being outside in the summer (and winter), gathering when the weather is nicest and enjoying good food and drink with friends and family.
I was a bit surprised to find out, there really wasn't anything like that in the Madison area. Of course, it wasn't long until someone got the great idea to do something about it. Their location happened to be across the street from where I reside too.
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park has opened up this past July and it already seems like it's going well. I was impressed by the organization, size and scale of the establishment. It's not only friendly for adults that like beer, but also families with parents that like beer... they have lawn games and a huge sandbox for the kiddos, plus don't forget it's on Lake Monona, go fishing even.
They also seem to keep a close eye on patrons as they leave the place, not only to protect the boundary of the beer garden and the neighborhood at large, but also to keep an eye on their nice glasses. You can't take them with you and they're watching like hawks to make sure no one leaves the grounds with beer or their steins.
They offer a few small bites, and a couple non-alcoholic items too. It's definitely not the place for a big meal or bring a group of diverse eaters, but perhaps food trucks or local food delivery is already taking note.
I have to get back there after dark and have a beer under the lights.