Up before the crack of dawn, the Cucumber Wrangler’s day starts with a lengthy stroll thru the rows and rows of knee high plants loaded with a cornucopia of the Central Valley. As the sun peeks up over the Sierra Nevada range, the true bounty begins to shimmer as rays of golden sunlight sparkle off the plump fruit hanging off the luscious cucumber plants. Today will be harvest day and the journey these green treasures will embark on is just about to begin. A mere 75 days ago the small seeds sprouted and began the process which brought them into their final form. Twelve long hot hours later, the harvest is complete for the day, and the freshly picked fruit resting in the traditional central valley wooden crates begin to make their way to the cool storage shed where they will spend the night.
If you’re reading this, you probably know Steve Altimari is President and Brewmaster of High Water Brewing. But do you know how he got here, who inspired him or whether he’s a dog or cat guy? Thanks to the folks over at Five Hundred Stories and their interview with Steve, we can share all this and more right here. Cheers!
After a 12-year career in the Silicon Valley tech world, Steve decided on a career change and attended the American Brewers Guild in Davis. He then took the helm as brewmaster at Valley Brewing Company until June 2010, including ownership during 1996 and 1997. Leveraging this successful brewing career, Steve embarked on the formation of High Water Brewing, with final licensing and production commencing in March 2011. “High Water” being a playful interpretation of Altimari from Italian, “Alta” meaning High and “Mare” meaning Sea or Water.
Imagine a 5 year old child’s face on Christmas morning. Pure ecstasy, nearly foaming at the mouth with excitement and possibly requiring parental guidance on the urge to tear all the wrapping paper off their bounty without blinking. If you’ve ever received a box of beer at your front door you know that as a beer loving adult, the reaction is the same, likely without parents to keep you in line. This is basically what Tavour, who we are thrilled to be partnered with, does. Deliver lovely boxes of High Water and other fine brews to your doorstep.
We’re stoked to announce our partnership with Hopsy, the Bay Area beer enthusiasts that have created a business to bring fresh High Water, and other local beer, to the doorsteps of our fans. Our brews are live on Hopsy so be sure to go check it out here!
As all beer lovers know, it’s hard to beat a fresh, cold draft beer. Certainly a Campfire Stout on tap at the pub is ideal but sometimes you want the same thing at home. Until recently, you’ve had 2 real options to make this happen. 1) Buy a keg. Which you won’t hear us complaining about but it’s certainly not for everyone. 2) Fill up a growler. We love growlers as much as the next person but are left impressed with how Hopsy has improved them. They’ve got two ways to bring fresh High Water beer to your home.
We’re proud to release our 2017 Product Calendar. Some of the same faces from 2016 with a few new ones sprinkled in.
- Nitro Campfire Stout will be on draft year-round
- Our CAlambic series continues, with 5 barrel aged sour releases.
- Aphotic, our Imperial Porter, will see some tasty new variations
Barrel aged Campfire Stout is here! Aged for 9 months in Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey and Four Roses bourbon barrels, it was blended just a couple weeks ago. Now it’s bottled, kegged and ready to be enjoyed. There will be a very limited supply of this beer so we are having a series of release parties to give as many people as possible a chance to get their hands on it.
The Great American Beer Festival is nigh upon us and we couldn’t be more excited! 3 days, 800 breweries and 3,800 beers plus of course the competition. For all of us beer crazies, it doesn’t get much better. We’ll be in booth O26 and since you’ll surely have to prioritize where you spend your GABF time, here are a couple reasons to stop by.
Mile High Club
Something new this year is our very own GABF Mile High Club. We’ll have a limited supply of these merit badges so make sure to get to the booth early and join the club..
As we put the finishing touches on our CAlambic series with our upcoming Montmorency cherry brew, we wanted to share some background on how we got here. Sours are a big part of High Water and there’s some history behind it.
Going back to the 90’s, Brewmaster Steve was experimenting with sour barrel beers thanks to his love of Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen. Not everyone is a fan of the hop bitterness that comes with the all-popular IPA style and as Steve points out, the sour taste profile pairs nicely with a variety of food. It’s also refreshing thanks to all the fresh fruit used. He and his wife, Barri, First Lady and Flavorologist of High Water are longtime fans of sour beers and have stayed on the leading edge of innovation with this style.
National S’mores Day is officially August 10th but here at High Water, we’ll be celebrating the whole month of August with all sorts of Campfire Stout fun! If you haven’t tried our flagship stout, our motto is “Leaves you wanting S’more”. It’s been described as “liquid s’mores” or “s’mores in a bottle”. Is it brewed with graham crackers, roasted marshmallows and chocolate? It certainly tastes that way! Here in Northern California, August means camping. And remember, like any campfire experience, Campfire Stout is best shared with a warm circle of family and friends. And while you’re at it, check out some of ways to get involved with us here at High Water.
At the 2016 West Coast Invitational Commercial Craft Beer Competition, Aphotic, our Imperial Porter took 3rd in the Mild, Porters and Stouts category. Cucumber Kolsch, a new summer release, took 2nd in the Specialty Beers category. And Stella Blue, a new offering in our CAlambic series, took 1st in the Wheat/Saison/Belgian/Sour category as well as 2nd in the overall Best of Show group!
The Commercial Craft Beer Competition is part of the larger West Coast Invitational beer festival. Limited to West Coast breweries, it is one of the last remaining fully sanctioned craft brewer competitions. This year, there were over 160 beers entered and judged for 10 distinct categories and the Best of Show award. Hosted at Sactown Union Brewery, the judging was done with a triple blind tasting process meaning the judges had no idea what brand of beer was being tasted in each category.
And at the 2016 Best of California Commercial Craft Brew Competition, which is part of the California State Fair, Campfire Stout took 1st in the Specialty Beers category and Stella Blue also took 1st in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer category!
In this competition, California craft brews are professionally judged in order to recognize the best commercially brewed beers in California.
All in all, a tremendous start to the summer and the whole crew at High Water is honored to be rewarded for producing beers that push the traditional style boundaries and focus on the unique flavors we love to create. Cheers!