Beer of the Week: High Water Brewing Hop Riot IPA

When you know how to make great beer, chances are you’ll find a way to make it. When Steve Altimari found himself without a brewery, it was only a matter of time until his hoppy brews were passing through our lips again. While it’s been a little more than a year since we last saw his beer on the market, Altimari and friends are back with High Water Brewing. With bottles finallky hitting the market this Friday at City Beer in San Francisco and Altimari making a visit at the Toad in the Hole this coming Tuesday, it only makes sense that this week’s Beer of the Week is High Water Brewing’s Hop Riot IPA.

Hop Riot IPA is out flagship beer. Brewed in the American IPA style with a definitive “Left Coast” attitude. We brew our IPA with an aggressive bitterning level which is complimented and balanced by a defined malt backbone. Our final signature is the dry hop step where fresh hops are immersed in the finished beer to provide the floral and citrus aromas of our IPA, a Hop Riot indeed.


I first tried this beer at the San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala. I came in with high expectations and wasn’t disappointed. While Altimari was known for more than just hoppy beers in his previous venture, High Water’s offerings are focused on an IPA and double IPA for the time being. Part of this is due to the time it takes to brew and age the sour beers, another calling card of Altimari’s.

Hop Riot IPA is a nice blend of East and West Coast styling. West Coast fans will be lured in by the big hop aroma and flavor. Hop Riot brings notes of pine, tropical fruit and citrus that blend together into a unified chorus. For those from further East, the rich malt body will remind them of IPA from the Atlantic. Almost cake-like in impact, there’s sweetness, body and enough presence to match up to the hops of this IPA.

As one half of the initial push from High Water Brewing (along with Retribution Imperial IPA) Hop Riot is setting the stage for an impressive return o the Bay Area brewing scene for Steve Altimari. With a barleywine also schedule for release later in 2011, time will be the only factor before we start seeing things emerging from High Water’s barrels and really see where this brewery can go.