This time of the year between holidays is always a bit strange. If you're off work, you tend to forget the days of the week over the holiday period, and when Christmas Day is midweek, as it was this year, the weekend between then and New Year can get a bit overlooked. I suggested to a friend that we'll meet as usual in the Guest House, and he looked surprised and asked why. I replied because it's Saturday. "Oh yes," he said vaguely.
With family visiting, I haven't been to the pub as often as I might have done normally, and in fact I was driving at the end of Christmas Day and so had severely limited my intake. In Liverpool on our customary pre-Christmas pub crawl on the 19th, my impression was that there were fewer people out than in previous years: the pubs were busy, certainly, but it wasn't as frantic as usual. It was a similar experience on Boxing Day in my local, the Guest House, which is usually heaving even before the Southport Swords arrive to do their longsword and morris dances. In fact, apart from a from a few musicians, the place was almost empty when I arrived, although it did fill up later. I can only conclude that in the present economic climate, people are hanging on to their pennies.
As for beer, one of the Christmas offerings on Boxing Day was Southport Brewery's Santa's Brew, described as: "Toffee sweet malt with a touch of butterscotch. Also, present is a peppery grassy hop." They say tastes vary, and I found it more dry than that description suggests. It's a light-coloured beer, not very Christmassy to me, but I liked it nonetheless, and being on the £2.50 handpump was a plus. When it ran out, it was replaced by the darker and definitely more toffee-ish Piddlemas from Wyre Piddle; pleasant enough, but I preferred the Southport beer. On the Liverpool pub crawl, I thought that the Oakham Citra that we had in the Fly In The Loaf was the best pint of the evening, and probably the best I've had for a while.