But if rubbing shoulders with the local alchies isn't your pint of beer, you could stay at home and watch Oz Clarke and James May as they Drink to Britain instead. This week, they set off on an extended pub crawl around Britain to sup the best beers, wines and spirits the country has to offer (8pm, BBC2, 6 January).
Having sunk several pints in quick succession at various railway station bars in Yorkshire, the pair's repartee became increasingly entertaining - and slurred. At first, May baulked at the idea of using flowery language to describe beer. "You don't need to start intellectualising beer like wine," he said indignantly. But before long he was describing the taste as akin to "the sweetness of a nymph being chased by a Viking of bitterness" and getting as carried away as Clarke.
Unlike other double acts that have embarked on food journeys of late, these two were also informative. We actually learned something about how beer is traditionally made, why it tastes the way it does and what makes it superior to mass-produced Australian lager. I was so enthused by their eulogising that I'm now hoping the credit crunch and the renewed interest in all things traditional might prompt a full-blown real ale renaissance. I was less convinced about the white wine from Yorkshire, however.
Or Rick Stein's Memoirs of a Seafood Chef (9pm, BBC2, 7 January). I've enjoyed his series in the past, but this 90-minute special devoted to Stein's achievements was too much. It didn't present him in a particularly positive light either, making heavy use of clips from earlier shows - including the moment when, sitting on a boat with Keith Floyd, he realised he fancied a TV career. I'm not sure I wanted to know that ruthless ambition had played just as much of a role in his success as his cooking skills - and it rather undermined the affable elder statesman persona he has crafted of late. But hey ho. He can still do amazing stuff with fish.
And we did get to see the real star of the piece, Chalky, again.