Micro-breweries – a buzz word of late. But lets look at that word. Brewery I understand, place that brews – preferably beer. Micro – well it means small. As loathe as I am to side with Tony Hopkins and Robbie Coltrane and the whole Barclays ad thing, small rarely means good.

Take The Yorkshire Grey. A pleasantly unassuming pub on the corner of Gray’s Inn Road and Theobalds Road. Oak panelling, rubbish chalk boards and too much lighting. A perfectly fine way of spending an evening. Nevertheless the truth becomes clear when you hit the bar, it also brews its own ales. And being the experimenters we are, you can’t order a safe Kronenborg when the prospect of something new and dazzling is on the horizon. Can you?

Thank Christ their Porter wasn’t on, that’s all I can say. Porter died as a drink pretty much because no-one liked it. The financial sense in knocking some up in your brew pub is not clear, except to tickle the sales of novelty, which of course they do well. I had a pint of their Judicale which was up their with the rankest bitters I’ve ever supped. Which brings us to part two of the micro-brewery fallacy. The stupid names. What soured us on brew pubs and mb’s in the first place was Firkin pubs. Now truth be told their home brews weren’t that bad. It was just the pubs, the relentless puns and forced jolity. Now where are they? Turning their back on Dogbolter and Finman’s Flask.

The hegemony of the large breweries is quite possibly a bad thing, but so is the fashion for fashions sake of micro-breweries. There is little quality control, and certainly the Yorkshire Grey is not going to throw out twenty gallons just because it did not turn out right. In the end, I advise asking another fool at the bar who already has a pint. “Is it any good mate?”