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High Water Brewing Company: A New Taproom Shows Off Flavors of a Unique Brewpub

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Have you ever had a beer that tastes like a S’more? Then you’ve tried High Water Brewing Company’s Campfire Stout! This is just one of the unique flavors served up here.

Steve Altimari and his business partner, Barri, are behind this popular venue. Steve is president and brewmaster, while Barri is co-owner and CFO, chief flavor officer. Steve has been a professional brewer for just over 23 years. He grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. “Growing up, I was always inspired by artists and musicians, a definite right brain trait. However, I decided to pursue a degree in ceramic engineering that led to a ten-year career in the high-tech computer world, full-on left brain,” he explained. “Luckily the lure of craft beer pulled me into the world of brewing, which was more suited to my personality and life goals. Barri, my business partner, and I owned and operated a brewpub in the late ‘90s and now have the pleasure of bringing the High Water vision to fruition.” 

Barri earned a degree in psychology and counseling but returned to her passion for cooking. She developed recipes for food companies and events on national and local levels in competition, earning many awards and accolades. Her experiences as a brewpub owner and many years as a sous and pastry chef have inspired her to create adventurous, food-forward beer flavor profiles, and she’s one of the driving forces behind High Water’s unique flavor combinations. The couple has two boys, Cassidy, 18, and Kyen, 15.  

New Flavors
Together, this dynamic duo has made their tagline, Unique Flavors for the Curious Palate, an ongoing vision, creating flavorful and interesting flavor combinations in their beers as well as the food menu. High Water Brewing is unique in that although it has been in business for eight years and ships beers to 23 states and several export countries, it actually does not own or operate a full-production brewery. “In fact, our Taproom, which just opened two months ago, is our first retail operation,” Steve announced. “We have used a partner brewing model in which we use other production brewing locations to produce our product line using our recipes. We use up to four different breweries to produce our diverse line of beers and ship directly to distributors across the country and around the world. We own several fermenters that we have installed in different breweries to allow us the freedom to develop new products and introduce them to the market without the capital burden of owning and operating a full-production brewery.”

How did they come up with the name? Steve explained that High Water is a loose Italian translation of their last name, “alta,” meaning “high,” and “mare,” meaning “sea” or “water.” 

Brett and Lacto
His favorite beers are their barrel-aged sours, which undergo a standard production fermentation cycle of around eight to ten days in stainless steel fermenters. However, after that, they transfer the partially fermented beers into used wine barrels that have been inoculated with the wild yeast Brettanomyces and the bacteria Lactobacillus. “These lovely creatures are the bane to our wine-making friends,” he smiled. “The beer is allowed to sour for eight to nine months. We then add fresh fruit or fruit purees and other herbs and flavors. After an additional four to five months, the beer is removed from the barrels, blended in tanks and packaged. These beers are never the same, always evolving and a mystery to all who appreciate them.”

The Famous Beer and Taproom
Tasters know that these are an amazing and rewarding experience for the palate. His all-time favorite is the Campfire Stout, the beer that made High Water Brewing a household name. It’s their top seller and can be found in all corners of the world. “It leaves you wanting s’more!” he confirmed.

They are very proud of the new Taproom and production brewery, which serves at least 20 of their draft beers plus a multitude of bottled and canned products plus kegs and growlers to go. “We have an onsite restaurant and a beautiful outdoor beer garden to enjoy the fruits of our labor. There will be an onsite production winery and distillation facility opening in the upcoming months called Delta Artisan Wines and Spirits,” he continued. “We strive to be a one-stop destination for the fun seekers. Look for upcoming events in our backyard that include concerts, car shows and many other community-based events”.

The official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be Saturday, October 12, from noon to 2:00 p.m. They will be also adding live music nights, trivia night, movies in the brewery, beer pairing dinners and many other fun events. Steve and Barri plan to add a banquet and meeting facility onsite in late 2020 and welcome groups who are celebrating life achievements, celebrations of life and company gatherings.  

“We are a family-friendly business that is committed to being responsible citizens in our local market,” he remarked. “Our new facility is our home for the most part and we would love to extend an invitation to HERLIFE readers to swing by, pull up a chair, say hi, have a great time with us and visit with friends you have yet to meet.”

High Water Brewing is located at 927 Industrial Way, Lodi, California. Visit for more information.