San Diego (Normal Heights), California:
Blind Lady Ale House
Tuesday 22nd May 2012
This is a very hip location to drink beer and they don't hesitate to tell you so. Despite that, there is a very extensive selection of beers and the pub itself is interesting with helpful staff.
It was packed when I visited which I suppose is not surprising considering its attraction to the 20- and 30- somethings of the northern suburbs of this vast sprawling city; the seventh largest in the U.S.A., by population.
I understand that they give a discount to those who cycle to the pub and can prove it. On entering I was immediately struck by the large collection of beer bottles and cans displayed in wooden cabinets.
On one wall there is a very large advertising sign for Hamm's Beer. This brewery was established in 1865 by German immigrants in St Paul, Minnesota.
It soon became a very large company. It was taken over by the Heublein Brewery in 1968 and went through several changes of ownership after that. The brewery closed in 1997 and is still intact.
In 1954 the company opened another brewery in San Francisco, and this is probably how the sign arrived here. Unfortunately that operation closed down in 1972. I understand the buildings are now used as offices.
There are still three beers produced under the Hamm's name by Molson Coors, the current owner of the brand: Premium, Golden Draft and Special Light.
Service is at the bar, British style, and is efficient. The draught beer list is enormous and I won't replicate it here, but I will bore you with the breweries represented.
From the home state of California they were:
North Coast (Fort Bragg); Firestone-Walker (Paso Robles); Stone (Escondido); Sierra Nevada (Chico); Russian River (Santa Rosa); Pizza Port (Carlsbad); New English (San Diego); Green Flash (San Diego) and Trumer, an Austrian Pils brewery that also has a plant in Berkeley.
From out of state, I could have had beer from the following breweries:
New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO); Dogfish Head (Milton, DE); Victory (Downingtown, PA); Allagosh (Portland, ME) and Logsdon (Hood River, OR). On top of this there was a "Tap takeover" by Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, MI, who had no less than seven of their draught beers on offer. There was also Julian Cider (7.2%) from Julian, CA. There was also draught wine from vineyards in Santa Barbara.
As can be seen, this is a beer destination pub and it has a good reputation for its food.
The Blind Lady Ale House, 3416 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, San Diego 92116
Tel: 01 619 255 2491
Monday: Closed. Open: Tuesday-Sunday 11.30 to 24.00
Bus 11 runs along Adams Avenue outside the pub.
It operates daily through downtown and can be boarded at the 5th Avenue / Broadway stop. Note that it arrives at the 4th Avenue / Broadway stop on the return.