I travel a lot around the state for various reasons. Sports. Work. Sports. Friends. More Sports. And sometimes I like to enjoy a stop by a brewery to casually check up on some of the newer beers and things going on with them. I did that even before we started this website 2 years ago. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Traveling between two well known breweries, I passed a new sight. I had heard the rumblings of this brewery from my time in Northern Virginia, as the assistant brewer was heading this way to start a new brewery, but hadn’t seen much since. I made a note of that and made sure the next time I was up that way, I would make it the first stop. Sure enough the next weekend I was in the same spot and hunted this place out. My 2 years of high school Latin was enough to recognize the name and thought that this was going to be a cool place. Little did I know that it would be one of the better experiences I have had visiting a brewery in a while.
Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery (Crozet, Va)
6135 Rockfish Gap Tpke.
Crozet, VA 22932
Phone: (434) 823-4878
Total Beers Tapped: 10
Tours: Yes (Free)
Growler/On-Site Sale: Yes; Growlers (and the coolest keg growler we’ve seen).
Food: Permanent “food truck” located in the parking lot that will serve inside the brewery.
Beer Selection: It’s hard to fire on all cylinders when you are getting started. I typically go into trying offerings from a new brewery with the mindset that there is something I’m not going to particularly like. And that is fine, not everyone likes everything. I will say, with no reservation, I enjoyed all 10 selections on that day. That is not to say a few really stood out, I’m saying that all were very drinkable, to the point where when I had to pick 2 out to take away, it was a very, very difficult decision. I have only run across this once in the past 5+ years of brewery visits, with the other being Maine Beer Company. That is good companionship. The 2 I did pick up were outstanding. Pavlov’s Bell-Gian Ale was a Blonde with cloves & apricots and Hop Drone IPA (American) with a dry hopping of Citra with a strong citrus peel flavor. Beans Deep Coffee Stout was another one that stood out as it was like a fresh cup of coffee and strong as the dickens.
Amenities: Decent size seating area with bar and high-top tables right next to the bright tanks. The reuse of this high bay metal building had everything right next to each other in the sales area. You walk through a small seating area and stage used for live concerts as well. A decent size outside seating area is right out the front roll up doors. Also noted is that you can bring in your pets, and treats were handed out to your four-legged friends. Plenty of t-shirts and merchandise.
Atmosphere: If looking out the tasting room and seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains isn’t enough, then the tasting room itself is set up nicely for decent sized crowds without disturbing those who chose to sit down and enjoy a tasting. Just enough TVs to watch sporting events without taking away from the ambiance. Being able to view the tanks next to the bar is really cool, especially when people are working on them.
Overall: If you were to put a checklist together of everything you look for in a small, upstart brewery without breaking the bank, this spot checks most of them off. Great location and reuse of building. A lineup of beers that is solid to great top to bottom. Food. Pets. Layout. Seating. Swag. Branding. Live Music. There is not one thing they missed when setting this up. And all of this is great for a place that is this young. One key moving forward will need to be getting the word out about this place. I found it by chance going from one brewery to the next on 250. I also hadn’t had any beers from them before, nor really seen any at my local spots in Charlottesville. Exterior marketing is the next step, but it shouldn’t be hard for these guys as they have everything working for them.