POP ‘N’ HOPS | FOOD + MUSIC INTERVIEW
Ben Woolhead pays a visit to Cardiff’s first craft beer and vinyl shop.
“I grew up in Neath and after 17 years in London, it felt like time to quit the rat race and ‘come home’”, explains Trevor McCabe, proprietor of new Cardiff shop Pop ‘n’ Hops. “The idea stemmed from my record label, Odd Box, and my desire to leave my old work life behind. The record label was and is a hobby and the day job had lost its lustre. Getting it off the ground was just a case of finding a place, getting a license and then trying to figure out how the hell you run a shop!”
Why both craft beer and vinyl? “The idea of opening a record shop only seemed foolhardy and I kind of stumbled onto the idea to combine records with my other passion, beer. They seemed a good fit and they’re both something I’m passionate about. It just seemed to make sense.” It certainly does. Stepping off Whitchurch Road into Pop ‘n’ Hops is like entering a portal to heaven: the smell of the beer, the sounds from the turntable, the spray-painted Ramones portrait on the wall.
Despite being pleasantly surprised by the level of interest in second-hand vinyl, Trev says that the shop will never stock the widest range of music: “I want the new records to feel ‘curated’ and the same goes for the beer. I want an extensive range of high-quality craft beer, though.” At present, the shelves are laden with around 120 different varieties, including gluten-free tipples and a selection from local microbreweries Pipes, Crafty Devil and Roath Brewery.
When I visit, Trev is wearing a T-shirt endorsing one Odd Box outfit (Tyrannosaurus Dead) and spinning an LP by another (The Wendy Darlings). Does he see Pop ‘n’ Hops as the equivalent of a brewery tap for the label – a means of selling physical copies of albums directly to customers? “This is certainly something I’d love to happen. I’d love to be known as a quirky independent record shop/label that also sells brilliant beers.”
Time to put Trev on the spot: what beers and records go together like Lennon and McCartney? “The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Automatic works really well with a crisp IPA – something like Hepcat by Gipsy Hill. And on a dark beer tip, I’d highly recommend the Buxton Arran imperial stout – that would be a great late-night sipping drink with Trouble Is A Lonesome Town by Lee Hazlewood.”