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McKenzie Brew House

Not Rated.
McKenzie Brew HouseMcKenzie Brew House
BEER AVG
3.7/5
Based on:
66 Beers
509 Ratings
Place Score: 88
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.32%
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

451 Wilmington Pike
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, 19342
United States
phone: (610) 361-9800

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: NeroFiddled)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

First stop on a memorable Saturday Beer Tour. Two Beermobiles were pressed into action early on a warm Saturday for a tour from NYC to Pennsylvania and then onto Philly. Leading the convoy was Davo’s Evil-Element which contained co-driver and navigator Slander, entertainment was provided by my good self the Bum, whilst a new version of Car Air Freshener was being field-tested by FeloniousPhil, we all agreed with Phil that the fresh grassy aromas really helped to battle the effects of long journeys. FeloniousPhil also provided a man size bag of BBQ Lays chips as well. The Support Car contained djgonzalez, rokotgirl and Mike (a.k.a. the ‘young’ Michael Jackson).

Having avoided, Sofa Cushions, large Wooden Boards and flying Mattresses on the Freeway, we arrived at a fork in the road on the Wilmington-West Chester Pike in Glen Mills. This is the home of the legendary McKenzies and we had arrived. The Sun was out and interfering with everyone’s headaches (courtesy of the previous Friday Night session) as we exited our parked vehicles and squinted at each other in the bright light as we mingled in the Car Lot at McKenzie’s after the long road journey. Just at that moment the Evil one spotted Scott Morrison the Brewer who was heading out, pleasantries were exchanged and Davo got to touch him again so he was all smiles.

From the outside, it could easily be mistaken for a single storey, wooden built, modern road-side restaurant, for its appearance is unassuming, even down to the gray exterior. However, a closer look reveals the brewing equipment on display which is easily seen through four full height windows at the front. Entered via a dual sided elevated stairway, the small entrance area is a little clinical. The entrance is situated in the middle of the building, so rooms break to the left and right. There is also a downstairs room (with an ATM machine) as well as outside drinking area. Wood is the construction material of choice and it is everywhere, and when mixed with stainless steel fittings and lots of glass, it all lends a rather a modern feel to the interior.

Airy and well lit, the stand alone bar is to your right and is surrounded by high stools. Our group initially sat at the bar area, but with seven of us to accommodate, it felt a little unsocial as we all talked across each other, so we decided to grab a large table. Food was ordered and proved to be above average, but nothing outstanding, it was to be more of a ‘filler’ for empty stomachs after a long drive. Nevertheless, we were here for the beer, and the food assisted in providing a good base prior to a days drinking, rather than a wholesome meal.

A chalkboard displays the beers available and includes a wealth of information concerning things like batch details, brewed on dates, etc. During our visit they had; McKenzie Light Lager, Unicorn Amber Ale, Black Lab Stout, Shane’s Leap Golden Lager (Shane’s Gold), Old Rogue Pale Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Hefe Weizen and the Maibock. Mike managed to snaffle a Sampler of the beers on offer, which proved to be a great way to sample a lot of the beers early on in the day. As others have noted, the “regular” beers are all brewed to accommodate the often “safe” decisions of the drinking public. However, the real treats lie hidden at times; they are the “specials” that are frequently brewed here. In addition to the beers listed, Davo managed to snaffle a couple of specials, all of which were top notch. Many of our group even stocked up on some bottled take-outs.

Service was good, but it was quiet, and the de rigeur Glasses that are 'super-chilled' to 0° Kelvin are a tad annoying, be sure to ask for a room temperature glass or you will be picking your fingerprint skins off the glass.

Physically, there is nothing to differentiate MBH from other modern homebrew establishments, the food is good, and the 'regular' beers are solid, which although great wouldn’t get me to come here in of themselves. Notwithstanding that, what really makes the journey worth while, especially the long drive from NYC, are the High Quality 'Special' beers, these are *exceptional* and are most certainly worth seeking out. If I lived within 100 miles of this place and knew of the specials release schedule, I would most definitely make a regular trip here every couple of months to stock up on the bottled special releases for sure and grab a bite to eat and a few beers whilst doing so.

A Huge Thanks to Davo for providing the transport and driving me (and others) here. For sure, without him, I would never have been able to get to this Penn State beer mecca.

Last Visit: Saturday 29th May, 2004.

Photo of maybrick
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is an "imitation" of your run of the mill Friday's Bennigans, Applebee's etc. with one exception, Scott "The Dude" Morrison who is the brewer.

The atmosphere, menu, and ameities are standard to those described above. The food is passable - nothing to write home about. The service is average and the several times I've had the opportunity to dine there non of the servers knew spit about the beer. The bar-tenders are also underwhelming about the brews Scott turns out.

The Dude's specialty brews (especially the european inspired ones) are defintely top notch and have won medals at the GABF. Scott has finally been allowed by the owners to condition/age his brews appropriately.

I highly recoments the beer, but don't expect too much with a standard menu and uneducated servie staff.

Photo of dmarch
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

One Rt. 202 in Glen Mills a couple miles south of Rt. 1. You can't miss this place, it is huge. Very spacious interior and a nice area downstairs with pool tables, darts, etc. Feels quite modern. Food is excellent and the beers...well, just read the reviews. Large selection of beers on tap and in 750 ml bottles. The dude sure looks like he has fun with the recipes here, making many styles and making them well. With another location coming soon to Malvern, I'm curious to see how big this place is going to grow within the next few years.

Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

This is your typical restaurant / bar style brewpub as far as appearance goes. Very spacious and the downstairs sports some pool tables, darts and other games. Very clean inside and out, nice patio deck on the backside. The food is pub grub style and prepared quite well … the cobb salad was huge.

The beer selection is very broad; on-tap varies from the Light Lager to a pale ale to Baltic Porter … with a few others that land in-between. The bottled beers are a real treat and are highly suggested; look for the Trappist Pale Ale, Saison and Bavay (Biere De Garde) … these are for sale to go as well.

Certainly worth the visit for an out-of-towner.

Photo of rdrummer
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Visited during the Philly Beer Rally. I found the upstairs a little too wide open and consequently kind of cold. It is probably different when the entertainment is there. The downstairs bar is more homey with some TVs and bar sports going on. The beer quality was excellent. I ordered three varieties and tasted at least another two or three. I didn't find a bad one. It was hard to judge the service with a large group arriving all at once, but the management did respond quickly to put a second bartender on to serve us. I found the selection great between the drafts and bottles. We only had the nachos. They were certainly good, large, and filling. The rest of the menu looked interesting as well. I will be back.

Photo of ElGuapo
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Another Philly area brewpub that has really impressed me. It is a large place with plenty of space to dine upstairs, and a big downstairs bar area. It is simple with a nice quiet relaxing atmosphere. They also have a shuffleboard table which really scores points with me. It is not as long as the one in my hometown bar, but then again that bar doesn't serve brews like McKenzie's does. Lots of belgian selections in bottles, and a few on tap. I think they had about 10 taps. I was only there for a little bit, but I got to try a couple. The pale was very good, and the porter was excellent. I got a case of mixed bottles to go, and I will be enjoying them shortly. The service was great, and I was very happy to see that they really went out of their way for the BA Rally. I will be visiting soon because the food looked excellent.

Photo of jakdracula
2.2/5  rDev -42.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3

Okay. I wanted this place to be good; great even... I live pretty close to Victory (the shock and awe brewpub), and I thought to myself "self, wouldn't it rule Earth if there's a second great brew pub near you?"

So I drove the icy roads of February to try out McKenzie's.

I walked in and was immediately told by the bouncers that the only dress code there is 'no hats'. No hats? Wacko. Who sat around and thought of that one? I'd like to see the minutes from that meeting... There's even a picture of a guy in a hat on the web site's front page... I respectfully removed my 'Beer Advocate dot com' hat... It was only a shadow of the lameness to come.

The place was packed with frat boy look-alikes and the girls who follow them... I must say the frat rats looked weird without their hats.

Anyway... there was also a band playing. Loud. Real loud. So loud in fact that the bar tender couldn't hear me ask if "there are any cask conditioned beers on tap"?

During a momentary break in the cover bands crap version of a crap song by a crap band, the bar keep heard my question and asked me what a 'cask conditioned beer' was... the shadow of lameness now loomed.

I ordered 'Abbys Oatmeal Stout'. Should have been named 'Shabby: we'll cross it out' (of our list of good beers that is)... it tasted like someone got a hold of 'powdered stout flavor crystals' and mixed them over gassed waters and didn't stir enough. Weak would be one word to describe it... another word: Anemic. For more words, go here:
http://thesaurus.reference.com/search?q=weak

With each sip of the stout I had hoped that I would get to the flavor layer or something, but it didn't happen... it stayed away from delivering any taste at all...

So, after one beer I bid goodbye to McKenzie and hurried back to Victory for some real brews, with my hat on...

Photo of ksqdomer
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Well this is my first beerfly so McKenzie's gets the honor. I'll start by saying that I've eaten here at lunch or dinner at least 50 times. That should be indication enough that I like it. Sometimes the parking situation indicates that plenty of others do as well, especially in the summer, when cars will be parked on the shoulders of Rte 202. That is dangerous at best.
I think the atmoshere is pleasant. Not too pubby and definitely light and airy enough for families. We go as a family all the time.
I think the food is very good and would rate it higher than the national chains with similar menus. As a local comparison, it is better than Victory but a notch below IronHill.
The beer has come a long way. And that is not a criticism of where it started, it's just that Scott has been given the opportunity to create many new, great beers. You all know that the 750 ml line is not to be missed. The latest is Bier de garde and it will not disappoint.
And beyond the regular draft lineup, the East Kent IPA is wonderful, as is the current Raven Baltic porter.
My only nitpick is the annoying habit of serving beer in frosted glasses. It drives Scott nuts. No problem, just ask for a non frosted glass, but know you will get one if you don't request a non frosted.
All in all, a great place with an excellent brewer added to an area of great breweries and brewpubs.

Photo of nomad
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

EDIT: If you order their year-round offerings might be bored to death depending on the time of year and day of week; if you order their seasonals or their Belgian 750 ml. bottles you will enjoy truly great hand crafted beer. Adjust your thoughts accordingly.

Somehow came up with an excuse to get to this place, as I've been dying to pick up some of their 750's to go. Thought it would be a bad drive from Center City, but isn't that bad if you go 95 and blah blah blah. Anyways, I like how minimal the interior is, sleek and thin lined lights and chairs allow the expansive floors and ceilings to give this place its character. Tons of seating, with a quiet family area separate from a louder/smokier bar area - anybody could go to this place, as I saw a number of families with little kids. Wait staff was helpful and abundant, and the beer selection was good but I wanted more seasonals and, to be greedy, I wanted all of their award-winning offerings. Besides getting the Triple and Trappist Pale to go, me and the lady enjoyed the Saison (review coming, quite good), Oatmeal Stout (review coming, excellent), and Pumpkin Ale (eh...). Food was fine, though a bit uninspired American stuff (i.e. ribs and burgers), but that's okay. Enjoyed the big screen with sound (a rare pairing in many places), and will look forward to checking back monthly to pick up their famous, rightfully so, bottled offerings in those lovely 750 ml. bottles.

Photo of slander
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Dropped in on what was to become a messy Saturday afternoon with Captain Evil to meet up with some other BA's which is always a fine time. Yeah, it just a slight haul to get to but definitely worth the time. They had the house standards on tap, and I went first with the East Kent IPA, floral and mad hoppy, and then ventured for the the Abbey Oatmeal Stout which was smoothy and chocolatey. Very nice. It was then that brewer Scott Morrison showed up and he busted out some bottles of the 750 ml seasonals. My absolute fav is hands down, the Abbey 8. Da-da-da-da-deep, alcohol, fruity, alcohol, sugary sweet, alcohol, beautiful. Just beautiful. The Saison was so very nicely spicy and the Trappist Pale Ale was dry and hoppy, but again, the Abbey 8, the Abbey 8. Scored me a bottle to go.
Food menu was solid. The Brew House Chili was all chorizo sausage and beans and the Hot Steamship Roast Beef & White Cheddar sandwich was the perfect base to hold me this Saturday afternoon. Sat at the bar in a large well lit but deceiving room that looks bigger than it really it thanks to the wall of mirrors. Never got around to seeing the main dining room except from afar or the basement room at all but I plan to be on back again.

Photo of ecoboy
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Okay, I'll throw a little cold water.

Maybe I shouldn't review a pub after a visit on New Year's Eve (although I was there early enough that it wasn't all that crowded and the music hadn't started yet.) Maybe the downstairs game room is not where to enjoy ales, but instead to enjoy bubble-boy hockey and pinball, which I did. It felt like a church rec. room with metal post holding the ceiling up. Bathrooms were some of the poorest attended I've seen in an operation this size: wet floors, glasses everywhere, paper overflowing the trash.

The beers were very light tasting, right through the saison which is not one-fifth as good as DuPont. I appreciate the attempt at Belgian style; it just didn't happen. Anything my companion and I oredered was like a pale version of its namesake, not enough hop character here, not enough alcohol warmth there.

Service (again, on New Year's Eve) was more interested in talking to friends and regulars than actually serve. Jukebox was filled with middle of the road blue collar pop, rock, country. Next time, if there ever is, I'll try the upstairs.

Photo of jrancan
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

I've only been once, but I'll give it a shot. Nothing stood out to me in any way other than the very friendly service. Selection, to me, was very basic. (light lager, pils, raspberry wheat). I did try a Belgian Pale Ale that was nowhere near spicey enough for me. Seemed watered down. I will be going back soon, so I'll re-review.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A nice little brewpub on Rt.202 just east of where it meets Rt.1 (not far from Victory). It's nicely appointed with wooden floors, and a green & tan color theme (which I guess is supposed to be Irish). The kitchen is open, which can be distracting to some, although it doesn't bother me. The bar is quite large, and in a huge room with high ceilings. It has a very open feel to it with the exception of the smoky pool room and bar downstairs. There's a nice deck outside (except that it overlooks the parking lot and highway). The beers are above par, but the regular selection is limited: light, amber, pale, pilsner. Look for the seasonals! The dark beer seems to have been eliminated, probably because sales of Guinness (which has been on tap since day one) slowed it down. Of course, the place is called McKenzie's, so I guess having THE Irish beer on tap is OK. And thankfully, brewer Scott Morrison has not let things slow him down. He's been doing bottle conditioned versions of his specialty beers to keep things interesting for the more adventurous. Recently there was a Belgian "double" White (extra strong Witbier) and an exceptional Belgian Pale Ale. Unfortunately, they don't sell the bottles to go. You can, however, get growlers of their regular beers. The food is pretty good, and fairly priced, but there aren't many vegetarian dishes. Still, I like the roasted vegetable pizza alot - some of the best brewpub pizza I've ever had. A nice brewpub that's worth a trip if you're not too far.

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McKenzie Brew House in Glen Mills, PA
88 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.