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DEJA BREW: Altoona's new Ombibulous Brewery taps into prohibition era atmosphere

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Natalie Rosenkranz, photos by Andrea Paulseth | VolumeOne

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Bottoms up, Altoona: Ombibulous Brewing (1419 Winchester Way, Suite 8) busted open its doors on July 20, and while the brewery takes inspiration from the days of the Prohibition, the beer gets to stick around this time! 

Jerrod and Michelle Dohm a married couple, run the brewery, and Jerrod works as the head brewer. He first got the idea of the brewery about five years ago, and they got the OK to move forward with it not too long ago. "Probably the last two to three years is when I started getting pretty serious with the business plan," Jerrod said. 

"That's when I started to worry - like, he's really serious about this," joked Michelle. 

If you hear "Ombibulous," and wonder how the heck they came up with the name, surprise: It's a real word! Well, sort of. 

"H.L. Mencken was an author in the 1920s during Prohibition, and he made the term up," Jerrod explained. "Mencken described himself as 'an ombibulous person - a person who loves all kinds of alcohol.'" 

Mencken and the Prohibition era captured Jerrod's attention and shaped his design for the brewery. For example, the brewery sports lots of dark wood and leather seating. 

"We love Prohibition, with the speakeasies and the flappers," Jerrod explained. "Upstairs we will have a little bit of seating, a shuffleboard table, and TVs - but for menus only - except maybe for Packers games." 

With that said, the Dohms see Ombibulous as a mellow place for people to get together and relax after a long day, whether they gather on the large patio that wraps around the brewery or next to the gas fireplace inside. 

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"We're hoping that we'll have this nice community following, and we can have this be a meeting place for people - even for clubs and organizations," Jerrod said. 

As for the beer, Jerrod said he makes it all himself. "We want five or six good beers for the opening, but the plan is to open it up to 12 beers," Jerrod said. "We're small - three-barrel size - so we'll have small batch sizes, but we'll be changing it up quite a bit." 

Jerrod prepared two East Coast IPAs, a stout, a black lager, and a honey red lager for opening day, and he plans to get a lemon wheat out on tap as soon as possible. "The lemon is strictly from the hops - I used a lemon drop hops with a back citrusy flavor," Jerrod noted. 

Once they get into the swing of things, Jerrod said that he hopes to bring in acoustic musical acts and food trucks. More than anything, he plans to use locally sourced ingredients. 

"I've thought about possibly growing some hops that I can utilize in the brewery," Jerrod said. "There are some hops and barley in the area, so that would be my goal - to use as much local ingredients as possible for our beers." The honey for the red lager, for example, came from a bulk store that sources from local beekeepers.

For now, Jerrod plans to focus in on the beer he serves. "I want to give people the best beer possible, the best beer experience, and the best atmosphere," he said. 

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Visit Ombibulous Brewing, 1419 Winchester Way, Suite 8, Altoona on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3pm-10pm, Fridays from 2pm-11pm, Saturdays from noon-11pm, and Sundays from noon-8pm. Check out facebook.com/OmbibulousBrewing for more.

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