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Previous Pint Pleasures - September 21, 2008

guinness eileen

Queen Victoria, 28 Southampton Street, Leicester, Leicestershire

The Queen Victoria closed down and has re-opened as the Soundhouse.

I hadn't intended to go all the way to the Midlands for knickers. The reason we drove to Leicester for the weekend was to see two gigs, namely Replica at the Terrace Bar one night and Calder at the Looking Glass the next. But for some inexplicable reason we found ourselves killing time between gigs in the city centre shopping district; and it suddenly seemed like a good idea to search for knickers. After clambering through racks and wading through piles of lingerie in shops rammed with shopaholics and slow-moving families I fended off an imminent panic attack by insisting we stop this nonsense and go find a pub. Andrew was no problem to convince, as we'd both worked up a mighty thirst by this time.

A short time later we were driving around Leicester city centre searching for a pub I had read about in my CAMRA guide. Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name or the location, other than it suggested something having to do with a brewery and it was near the train station. After several increasingly frustrating circumnavigations of the station I spotted not the pub I was looking for but another one: the Queen Victoria. What? Had we ended up in Walford, right in the middle of the episode where JC and Andrew come back to the Square with a bootful of knickers only to find that Pat has been searching for Phil because she had a word with Sharon after Dot had a word with Ian about Martin?

But this was Leicester, not East London, and this Queen Vic featured a hand-written sign advertising real ales and live music. All the better reason to pop in and have a word.

To our relief we found not Peggy Mitchell or any of her progeny but a woman and a man who are both passionate about their cask ales presiding over 9 handpumps featuring a wide range of regional brews. Like many pubs that feature live music, this Queen Vic is very basic in decor, consisting of a long main room, a snug at the front, a pool room, and beer gardens in the back and on the side.

Andrew had a pint of Daleside Blonde (3.8% ABV, Daleside Brewery Ltd., Harrogate, North Yorkshire). This is a light golden sparkler of a brew with very balanced hops, nice and soothing for our knackered (and knickered) heads. My choice was Beijing Gold (4.4% ABV, Ossett Brewing Company, Ossett Brewery, Ossett, West Yorkshire). This was a bit stronger in alcohol than I would have liked, considering it was lunchtime and my head was a bit floaty. But I do like Ossett beers so I wanted to try it. Bronze in colour with a zoomingly velvet hops, it didn't make me think of Olympic athletes or of Tibetan independence, although ginseng came to mind. Would it be as good a tonic as ginseng? I was hoping so.

We took our pints out to the pleasant oasis-from-the-city beer garden and sat at a very blue table, pondering both what the open room upstairs could be and also how the young man sitting at a nearby table could possibly think that wearing the waist of his jeans belted firmly below his buttocks could be either attractive or comfortable. Perhaps the upstairs room is a live-music or soon-to-be-live-music room. And perhaps nobody's ever explained to the young man the concept of trousers.

As the wind began to whip its way through the garden we retreated back inside the pub to leisurely finish our pints. After all, it was only 10:09 according to the clock, and we had all day. No, wait a minute -- what the backwards clock meant was 1:51, which meant our leisure was suddenly reduced by 4 hours! How unfair, especially on this rare weekend off. All I could say was, "Knickers!"