I can't begin to guess when The Drafting Room in Exton, Pa. became a regular stop for me. I've been working in Exton for nearly 12 years, so it was surely sometime in the early years when I learned of the good things happening on Route 100, somewhere between the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the north and the Exton Square Mall to the south (for those of you that need some landmarks for your first visit).
In any case, as goes much with regard to the passage of time, it's difficult to grasp another passing year and another anniversary party at The Drafting Room. This anniversary party marked 17 years. The beer landscape has changed quite a bit in those 17 years. Northern Chester County (and bleeding a bit into Montgomery County) is generally accepted as the richest of the beer-rich suburbs around Philadelphia and The Drafting Room sits smack in the middle of it all.
In the middle of a couple of Iron Hills (Phoenixville and West Chester), a couple of McKenzies (Malvern and Glen Mills), a couple of Sly Foxes (Royersford and Phoenixville), Victory (Downingtown), Rock Bottom (King of Prussia), and in the middle of a bevy of high quality beer-centric bars (Teresa's Next Door, TJ's, Flying Pig, Ron's Original, and Station Taproom to name just a few).
As has been the practice since the 10th anniversary, Tröegs brews a special anniversary beer for The Drafting Room. Even with all of the busyness of the impending move from Harrisburg to Hershey, for this year's commemorative brew the brewery took its Sunshine Pils as a base and basically upped the malt bill and finished with a significant bit of dry-hopping using Hersbrucker and Tradition hops. Think in the ballpark of Imperial Pilsner.
The beer drinks fairly nice and cleanly, though with a noticeable Noble Hop punch thanks to the multiple hop additions from the five varieties in the boil kettle, to the hopback, to the finishing dry hops. At 6.5% ABV, it may not be an all-night session-style beer, but it'll certainly get you through happy hour both happily and in one piece.
How about we close out this anniversary party note with a beer and food pairing suggestion? This 17th Anniversary Imperial Pilsner? When at The Drafting Room, be sure to order the Portuguese Sliders. Roast pork, fontina cheese, roasted peppers, cucumber relish, and the aioli sauce all go along quite nicely with this Imperial Pilsner.