Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery makes its debut in Crozet and more local restaurant news

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Pro Re Nata Brewery will celebrate its four-day grand opening November 4 with six beers on tap, including the Old Trail Pale Ale and the Beans Deep Coffee Stout. Photo: Tom McGovern Pro Re Nata Brewery will celebrate its four-day grand opening November 4 with six beers on tap, including the Old Trail Pale Ale and the Beans Deep Coffee Stout. Photo: Tom McGovern

Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery makes its debut in Crozet

Local dentist John Schoeb wanted to open a business that makes people smile more than cringe. So, naturally, he opened a brewery. Schoeb filled us in on his plans for the former Moose Lodge space back in the spring, and we checked back just in time for Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery’s four-day grand opening starting Wednesday, November 4.

Schoeb joined the industry because he loves beer and the local scene, but he doesn’t pretend to be a brewer himself. He brought on Brad Hulewicz, formerly of Mad Fox Brewing Company, as brewmaster, plus American Brewers Guild graduate and operations manager Brian Combs plans to be involved with the beer-making process soon. Aside from requesting that the menu include at least three “easy-drinking” beers, Schoeb takes a hands-off approach and lets the experts do their thing.

“I’ve got the right people doing it. I don’t even touch it,” he says of the brewing process. “I’m hands-off with almost the whole business. I just stop in and have a beer and let them run it.”

Pro Re Nata (Latin for “as needed”) has been quietly serving up four brews during its soft opening the last few weeks, and by the time it’s open, it will have six on the menu. The Claudius Crozet Cream Ale definitely falls into the easy-drinking category, as does the Doctor’s Orders German Lager. Also available are the Old Trail Pale Ale and Hop Drone IPA for all the hopheads, plus the Beans Deep Coffee Stout featuring Trager Brothers coffee and a holiday-spiced ale. 

The brewery is divided into three rooms of sorts: an outdoor patio with tables, chairs and a fire pit, a family-style room with booths and a stack of board games and kids’ books in the corner and, of course, the bar, with high-top pub tables, TVs for the sports fans and an up-close-and-personal view of the seven-barrel brewing system right next to the L-shaped bar.

“We intentionally left it open,” Combs says. “We wanted to let customers witness the beer-brewing process.”

Zoning regulations prevent farm breweries from serving meals, so Schoeb also came up with Over The Counter (OTC), a 49′ food truck parked outside Pro Re Nata. OTC’s menu will rotate seasonally, so in addition to the classic black bean burger, Philly cheesesteak and juicy, tender grilled chicken sandwich (which chef Kenneth Taylor will dress up with bacon, pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and aioli upon request), expect to see soups and hearty stews in the coming months.

Check out the Pro Re Nata Brewery Facebook page (www.facebook.com/prorenatabrewery) for more information and updates about the grand opening and happy hour specials.

King (of the) crabs 

Seafood-lovers have been stopping Ted Anderson everywhere—in the grocery store, on the soccer field, at restaurants—for months, desperately asking how they can get their hands on his family’s famous she-crab soup and crab-and-shrimp cheeseballs. The family launched Anderson’s Catering after Anderson’s Carriage Food House closed last year, but with catering slowing down in the winter, Anderson says he wanted to offer another option to his loyal customers.

On Fridays (11am-5pm) and Saturdays (11am-2pm), Anderson is stationed under a tent in the parking lot at 450 Greenbrier Drive, selling fresh seafood, smoked fish and prepared items with a cult following such as his crab cakes and deviled crabs. Stay tuned for more updates from the Andersons, and in the meantime, check out www.andersons cateringcharlottesville.com for updates and information about preordering.