Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blind Lady

I made it to the Blind Lady. It was last Thursday evening in the midst of a rare San Diego rain storm. Blind Lady was packed. I have read reviews on BeerAdvocate and Yelp, and all mention the Blind Lady's excellent tap list, excellent pizza and the need for it to work out the kinks. It is self-serve, which takes a bit to get used to. By this I mean you have to find your table, order your pizza and beer at a counter, and then get your silverware, plates and napkins. You take your beer with you after you order, and your food is brought to your table.

First, the pizzas are excellent. They can be a little foo-foo (butternut squash pizza), but they are some of the best pizzas I have ever tasted. To the left is a picture of a kid's cheese pizza (photo taken by my six-year old). The menu is limited to pizza and salads. If you are looking for diversity beyond pizza and salad, Blind Lady will disappoint. But if you are pining for a great pizza, the Blind Lady is your place. One of our pizzas was burnt, and it was replaced quickly without question. Kudos to Blind Lady.

The tap list is extensive, with a variety of beers and a rotation that changes frequently. I had an AleSmith Lil' Devil and a Russian River Pliny the Elder (shown at right). I had never had Lil' Devil before, despite knowing about this beer for years. I have been missing out. It is a Belgian Ale that is quite tasty. The Pliny the Elder was excellent, as usual.

If I have one complaint against Blind Lady it is its glassware and pours. Beers come in 25cl or 37cl glasses, which equates to about 8oz or 13oz. Prices range from $3.50 to about $6.00. The pours were abysmal. Each beer had at least an inch or an inch an a half of foam. When you start with a small glass, and then add too much foam, a patron sort of feels gypped. I understand putting beer in the proper glassware, but give me a decent pour. I feel like Blind Lady is perpetuating the new trend of charging pint prices for a smaller glass. Blind Lady, please, get some regular pint glasses and fill them up and charge a decent price. I get putting high alcohol beers in smaller glasses, but many beers are appropriate for a pint glass.

I will go back to the Blind Lady. I love the pizza and the beer selection. The pours stunk and it needs pint glasses. The servers were over worked, but did a good job. (And the the night we visited there was a shortage of hot peppers.).


Lee said...

Hi, It's Lee from Blind Lady.
Thanks for your comments.
I wanted to respond about the glasswear, 'cuz it's a sore point for me as well, but perhaps for different reasons. If you're pressed for time, you can Read The Bottom Paragraph, and skip the details. If you want some details, let me explain:
We want for 3 things to take place when you order a beer at Blind Lady:
1) that it tastes great. To help achieve this, we've installed some cool features:a) All Stainless-Steel fittings (Couplers, Shanks, Tail-pieces, and Faucets), so that your beer never touches inferior metals..from the Brewery and your glass! Sounds pretty reasonable, right?! Well, it's almost never the case. We didn't take the free or cheap route. We bit the bullet and did it right. I think you can tell the difference.
b)it's a Direct-Draw system, which means that the beer comes directly through the wall. This means that the pathway is short, and the beer lines are easily cleaned (or even replaced) regularly.
c)we are using a glass rinser, to remove any sanitizer from the glass just before your beer goes into it. This helps the beer taste more pure and clean, not like glass cleaner. I've acquired a taste for Brewery-fresh-tasting beer ;)...and a nice draft beer system can help to achieve it.

2)the second thing we want to happen: you get what you pay for. I like to know that I am getting a certain amount of beer before I buy it---and you sound like you do, too. To this end, we are posting our pour sizes on the right-hand side of the chalkboard (along with alcohol content and price). I HATE ordering "a pint" (which is an actual unit of measurement) and getting a 14oz glass with 12 ounce beer and 2 ounces of foam! You see, a lot of bars use glasses that LOOK like pint glasses, but they are incapable of holding a pint. And the bartender sure as hell isn't going to tell you that the "pint" you ordered is only a 14 ounce glass, minus the foam! So, we want you to know what you're getting and be happy that you got what you paid for! The chalkboard tells you that a Chimay comes in a 25cl pour-- the Chimay glass has a mark on the glass--with room above the pour-mark for foam!(By the way, we charge $5.50 for a Chimay. Speedway Stout for $4.50. The only beer more expensive is the Framboise at 25cl for $6.50....too much?? Shop it around...that's pretty good...) Basically, we want to be honest about what you're getting.
3) And the last thing we at Blind Lady want is for the presentation to be pleasing to the eye. Flat beer looks old and depressing. Part of an attractive beer is the foam. (Foam is also a measurement of the beer quality, but I won't get into that...) It's difficult for us Americans not to feel ripped off by foam...because we HAVE been ripped off in most cases! You almost NEVER get "a pint" when you order one. However, when you know that your glass has been designed to give you a specified amount of beer, with plenty of room for the foam--well, stop worrying, and start enjoying!!! We all win! And this is the case with most all of the glasswear in Germany and Belgium--THE 2 most-serious Beer-consuming Countries in the world!! Glasses are designed with extra space to allow for foam. The Pour-Line on the glass shows where the beer-level should reach. A Great idea: it's good for the customer, good for the presentation, and good for the beer. So, that's what we're doing!

So if you just want me to get to the point, here it is: Our "pint" glasses were supposed to have arrived before our grand opening. They are STILL not here. We're bummed. But it'll be worth the wait:The glass we will be using is actually a 21.5 ounce, and will have a pour line at the 50cl mark, which is actually about 17 ounces, and allow for a nice foam space... It's visually beautiful, and technically more functional for beer enjoyment than a standard "pint" glass.(this will replace our 37cl glass...yes, with MORE than a pint!) In the meantime, we have the 37s. Thanks to our friend Julian for loaning us these glasses while ours are in transit...and thanks to all of our customers (for the last 9 days!) that have been helping us get through until our new glasses arrive!

Hope that helps, and that you'll give us a closer look next visit. I think you'll be pleased. Thanks again!
Lee Chase

Blind Lady Ale House
3416 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA

Rational Realist said...


Thank you for your thoughtful and enlightening response. I read the whole comment, not just the last paragraph. I should have known that with your experience you'd not bought into the short pint trend. I have experienced this several times in the past few weeks and it's frustrating. Thanks for the knowledge on the pour lines and foam, too. I obviously did not notice this. There is a difference between a proper poor and a lazy poor. I am looking forward to heading back to your restaurant, with or without the new "pint" glasses. Good luck!