Local Hangout: Blind Lady Ale House


Blind Lady Ale House, or BLAH, is an excellent place to hold court: people can come and go, there’s usually an open table and you can grab a quick pint or order 3 courses and a bottle of wine in a busy-without-being-noisy environment. The draft list is reliably diverse and exciting, a who’s who of craft breweries both local and international: Alesmith, Victory, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey and Avery were all represented on my most recent visit. I was tempted by a large variety of whites, wheats, sours and lambics – and the menu still had plenty of room for beers my friends enjoy (imperial IPAs for example) and even a few pilsners and lagers for the spillover crowd from nearby Triple Crown or Rosy O’Grady’s. The food is all tasty, organic, local fare including salads, cheese plates and pizzas, with such unconventional toppings as eggplant, egg and chorizo. We have been disappointed with the desserts and usually just cross the street to Lestat’s for cheap takeout treats that will rock your world as long as you get out of there before all the artistic angst has time to overwhelm you.

A place where we can all be happy.

I’ve been accused of being a hipster for frequenting Blind Lady. I’m still a little unclear as to what the qualifications are – I am not overly pensive or artistic and, despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to get Reed into skinny jeans or guy-liner. There are some seriously bro-friendly bars nearby, where Corona is often the classiest beer on the menu, which is how BLAH gets a reputation for beer snobbery. But this is a good thing, and it’s not intimidating. Choosing from their tap list seems daunting, but I’ve always found the pouring staff to be friendly and patient, offering tasting notes and a quick splash if you need a sample before committing. I tried some different sours on my last visit and learned from the server about Flanders reds, a style of aged red ale, that I really enjoy. It’s always great to have a whole new style opened up to me and this is one I’m surprised I didn’t already know much about, considering it’s described as the most wine-like of beers.
Blind Lady is where I first heard about the honest pint, though I have since seen it at many establishments in San Diego, including Hess Brewery. The glassware is marked with a fill line listing the volume, so you know it’s not a “cheater” pint glass, like too many are. This is one of Reed’s pet peeves – have you ever poured a bottle of beer into a supposed pint glass and noticed that it’s basically full? Bottles are 12 ounces, pints are 16. That’s quite a difference. You know what you’re getting at Blind Lady, be sure to check the board as the pour volumes vary (0.5 liters for most, but some are 0.25).

Overall, Blind Lady is an excellent place to eat, drink and be merry. The proprietor is a brewer who used to work at Stone and has now started Automatic Brewing Company, which admittedly I know very little about. I’ll have to take one for the team, find out more, and report back. BLAH is also a big part of the community and has a lot of events and tastings. It’s a stop along the Drinkabout, which is something I keep saying I’ll do but haven’t yet. Clearly, there will be some followup posts about Blind Lady as it’s a big part of beer culture in San Diego and in my life.

2 thoughts on “Local Hangout: Blind Lady Ale House”

  1. Thanks for the tip about the honest pint. I knew there was a reason for my fond feelings about BLAH…

    Can we make a date to do the Drinkabout together? It's been on my To Do list for a while, I just haven't made it happen yet.

  2. Oh yes, let's! Looks like it's usually every 3rd Wednesday. I've already got plans for this month and then may be out to sea the next 2. This is how it keeps getting pushed back. But let's try to find one and make it a priority this winter 🙂

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