Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The Bay Area’s Newest Brewery, High Water Brewing

By Jay Brooks
Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 4:02 pm in On Beer.

You may recall the formerly wonderful beers of Valley Brewing in Stockton, California. That was due to one singular reason, their longtime brewmaster, Steve Altimari. Steve’s beers have became some of the most creative, innovative and diverse of any brewer. He perfected one style after another and brewed some truly experimental gems. His Uber Hoppy Imperial IPA was one of the best and his London Tavern Ale, a delicate English-style mild was a great session beer. But back on June of last year, Steve left Valley and began work on his own new venture.

So it’s six or so months later, and I’m pleased to announce that Steve’s new brewery — High Water Brewing — has begun brewing. They’ve set up offices and cold storage in San Leandro, California, near Drake’s Brewing, whose brewing equipment they’ll be using to make High Water’s beer. They’re also installing their own fermenters on site but will store the finished beer in their separate offices nearby.


Initially, they’ll be offering three regular beers:

  • Hop Riot IPA (7.3% a.b.v. / 73 IBUs)
  • Retribution Imperial IPA (9.5% a.b.v. / 95 IBUs)
  • Old and In the Way Barleywine (11% a.b.v. / 95 IBUs)

The beers will debut on draft — 5 & 15.5 gallon kegs — in February during SF Beer Week (yet another reason I can’t wait for SF Beer Week!). Packaged beer, in 22 oz. bottles, will follow in early Spring, most likely in April. You can see the new labels on the website.


In the interest of full disclosure, the name High Water Brewing was suggested by me in a post back in June when this all went down, and after an exhaustive search, my suggestion turned out to be the one they liked best. The founders of the brewery were kind enough to thank me by awarding me some shares in the company, giving me a very teeny tiny interest in the company, essentially a symbolic, but very much appreciated gesture.

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  • craig

    he always has great beer at any beerfest he attends…i can hardly wait..

  • brewnot

    I am looking forward to the beer.

    The first 3 beers out of the brewery: IPA, Imperial IPA and a Barley Wine, a bit of a head scratcher for me.

    One very strong beer (barley wine)
    One very hoppy beer (IPA)
    One very strong & very hoppy beer (Imperial IPA)

    Craft beer is a monority market. Uber hoppy and uber strong are a niche part of the craft beer market.

    Starting off with a niche in minority is pretty narrow. And will be sold in kegs only. Now a bar has to use up tap space for a beer that most of it’s customers will not appriciate.

    Hey I am an engineer and a beer lover, what do I know?