There are two locations for McKenzie Brew House…I selected to visit the one in Malvern.
In a lame attempt to save some cash, I decided to get lunch at the Dunkin’ Donuts a couple of stores down. I would often, not always, bring lunch (a la peanut butter sandwiches) and eat it along the way or stop by inexpensive joint to get a sandwich before getting down to the beers on 40/40. I feared racking up a big credit card bill and not eating a meal at the microbrewery often saved $ 15- $ 20. And after visiting 40 places, that comes out to a savings of $ 500 or so.
Flights/samples, except at high-priced Lancaster Brewing Company, often run in the reasonable range of $ 6 – $ 8 for six 4 ounce glasses.
Well, at Dunkin’ Donuts, the Ham and Cheese Flatbread concoction was about the sorriest piece of microwaved nonsense I have ever eaten. DD says that they are “toasted”…there is no way cheese gets that searingly hot in a toaster oven. Anything that makes a Hot Pocket seem gourmet is just bad. Kudos to D.D. for putting up the Nutrition information…there should also be a disclaimer that it really is awful. Look at some of the ingredients:
Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Vegetable Mono and Diglycerides, L-Cysteine, Calcium Peroxide, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Sulfate, Azodicarbonamide, Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Propionate, Dextrose, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Lactate, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. Yikes. “Igor, hand me the chemicals.” Franken-food…
Desperate to cleanse my palate, and fast, I trotted over to the McKenzie Brew House for the antidote: Great beer. But before this, talk about Frankenstein-like, look at the local beer distributor between Dunkin’ Donuts and McKenzie’s:
Although a little hard to see, this place was pimped out with all the Bud and Miller/Coors ads and signs. I honestly believe that beer distributors should be willing to take a chance and give more microbreweries some shelf space. It is probably like mob-lite, though. Rather than Tony paying you a visit, and who keeps making a fist as he is trying to persuade you to cooperate, the Big Boy reps macro-promise and macro-punish monetarily because they can.
Although McKenzie’s is smack dab in suburbia, it does have some character. Check out the inside:
And the beers:
Ah, the lab creations. The science of brewing is making me much more interested in the subject of Chemistry as of late. McKenzie’s web site has a Brewing 101 page.
The beers were delicious. I have found most of the beers on 40/40 to be good to great. I suppose that better tasting beers gives them a fighting chance against the monstrobreweries. McKenzie’s brews have won some national and international awards.
Like the critics, I liked the Saison Vautour Farmhouse Ale. Saison in French means “Seasonal” and were typical made in the winter for summer drinking. Here is a more in-depth description about the Saison-style.
Another cool feature about McKenzie’s is that they will put on tap a local homebrewer’s recipe. When I was there it was the Dark Knight Belgian Dark Ale. This was my favorite. The Caped Crusader motif fighting the forces of destruction seemed to fit the spirit of the day. I always root for the underdog…