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BEER WEEK: Blind Lady Ale House

Lee Chase at Blind Lady Ale House.
Photo by Adam Ward

The Blind Lady Ale House on Adams Avenue got into the spirit of San Diego Beer Week this past weekend.

The Blind Lady Ale House’s “Barrel and Wood-Aged Beer 12-Hour Mini-Fest” brought the weird and the wonderful to the taps of Normal Heights. On tap Saturday(around 6:30 p.m.)was: FireStone Walker Oak-toberFest Bier; Duchesse De Bourgogne Flanders Red Ale; Ballast Point Barrel Aged Sea Monster Imperial Stout; Ballast Point Barrel-Aged Navigator; Allagash Curieux Jim Beam Barrel-Aged Belgian Tripel; and Deschutes Mirror Mirror Barley-Wine (oak-aged).

Management decided to celebrate the karma of good beer during San Diego’s first Beer Week, says Lee Chase, one of the four owners of the Blind Lady Ale House.

When Chase opened his doors Saturday morning, he could tell it was going to be a crazy day. And by noon the Ale House—open since January—wasfull. Chase’s goal for Saturday night was to let people drink “a lot of different beers, but not a lot of beer.”

That was accomplished by using small glasses of beers in flights. And even people familiar with beer were likely to find one or two styles of suds that redefined their idea of what beer could taste like. For example: the Flanders Red Ale is an intensely sour, tangy beer that tastes more like wine than traditional beer.

The 36-year-old Chase estimated that he had 75 cask beers, and went through most of them in less than an hour and 20 minutes.

The Blind Lady Ale House has a strong focus on preserving beer’s flavor. “We use all stainless steel between the brewery and glass—weare the only place in Southern California, maybe California that does that,” says Chase. “I don’t know how much people care, but when they taste the beer, they know it tastes good.”

Chase bemoans the use of brass in beer brewing, which he says, “in subtle ways, steals flavor.”

Chase knows what he is talking about. He has a rich history as a brewer in San Diego County. He was one of the first employees hired at Stone Brewing Company, and worked there for 10 years before striking out on his own. Now he divides his time between consulting at other breweries and running Blind Lady.

He has a degree in Malting and Brewing Science from the University of California, Davis. He describes his early interest in brewing beer as being a way to secure a steady supply of alcohol before he was old young to legally order it at a bar. A vegan, Chase says the punk aesthetic of vegan cookbook Soy, Not Oi! influenced him.

He’s passionate about beer and promoting beer appreciation. Chase says Blind Lady will go “all out” with all its Beer Week events. Those interested in checking out beers with bite can sample Belgian-style sour beer flights from 7-10 p.m. on November 13 at the Ale House.

SanDiego.com is offering continuous coverage of San Diego Beer Week (November 6-15). Check back for more stories, or click on these links for pieces already posted:

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  • City: San Diego
  • Address: 3416 Adams Ave.