|By Zach Patterson||Thursday, 19 Apr 2007|
McKenzie Brewhouse is a great bar/restaurant in Malvern, PA (also one located in Chadd’s Ford) that serve beers that they happen to brew there. After an excellent showing of Grindhouse earlier in the evening, I ventured to McKenzie’s with my cohorts, the Hohman brothers and Ben Pelhan, to partake in their game room and formally try out their beers.
McKenzie’s has 5 beers: McKenzie Light Lager, Shane’s Gold, Wicked Will’s Pale Ale, Unicorn Amber Ale, and Black Lab Stout.
McKenzie Light Lager: This is a very light beer, not too harsh and no particular aftertaste. Kinda like a Miller Lite. It was decent to drink, and I had a few, but I would say it is not worth the brewery price tag.
Shane’s Gold: This was gold-ish pilsner…very generic for the most part. Not really terrible, but far from memorable. Definitely could taste the hops. Kind of had a bitter metallic aftertaste which I ruined it for me. Might have been the individual tap, but I didn’t order another to find out.
Wicked Will’s Pale Ale: I’m not a huge pale ale fan, and most of us agreed this one was mediocre. Had a faint citrusy, fruity taste, but definitely felt it could have been more prominent. I had one and struggled through it.
Unicorn Amber Ale: This one was great! A brown ale, something I have not tried a lot of, but had tons of flavor and kinda drank like fine Lager. This is far an away their best beer and the one I had the most of. Deep flavor that isnt harsh, and goes down nicely.
Black Lab Stout: I tried a bit of one of these, and I didn’t care for it. I’m not a huge stout fan to start with (it’s a bit too dark and heavy for my tastes), but the flavor just wasn’t good. It was a mix of too many things, I felt. It is listed as tasting of licorice, coffee, and chocolate, and that’s nothing I want in a beer. Pass.
Overall, the beer gets a big, fat, meh.
So the beer of McKenzie’s isn’t the strongest point. However, they do stock liquor unlike some breweries, and they have two floors, one upstairs for eating and live bands, and one downstairs for pool, darts, and other games. The downstairs is really relaxed and never seemed overcrowded with people. And unlike most downstairs bars, this one was not an afterthought. The decor was nice, and it easily could have been a corner sports bar anywhere. It is a nice contrast to the action upstairs which tends to be a more social, less gaming oriented crowd.
Even with bars on both floors, the atmosphere is very clean and friendly both upstairs and down. The place is packed with HD TV’s playing sports at all times, which is a nice diversion between rounds of darts or if you just wanna check some scores. The security at times feels a little overbearing (I went just outside the door within view the whole time to make a phone call and upon coming back in, I was hassled for ID again, even though he saw me go out, and they don’t really hesitate to kick people out if they get rowdy), but the feel and fun of the place really improves my opinion of McKenzie’s.