Venue to Visit : Pop 'n' Hops

Even before this pandemic is finally and fully in our rear view mirrors, the heroes and villains who have helped or hindered us throughout this time will come to be known. 

The villains we know about. The politicians who funnelled money to their mates. The anti-lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vaccination activists whose hysterical denial perpetuated this horror for far longer than necessary. But there's no need to dwell on those. Their uppance will come.

Outside of the undoubted true godlike heroes in the health and care services, numerous other folk helped ameliorate the disruption COVID caused to our lives in 2020 and 2021. 

There were, for example, the travel and hospitality companies who tore up their usual watertight terms of service and refunded or deferred payments for flights and hotels lost due to the lockdowns. There were the local business owners who ensured that folk got the supplies they needed, even if they were declared as "unneccessary". 

And of course, for those of us who suddenly found ourselves publess, we turned to those who sold and - more importantly - delivered beer.

It may seem a trite thing to consider in the grand scheme of things but it's only when you are restricted or denied access to things do you realise how much you either rely on them or take them for granted. And I'm not talking about an unhealthy reliance on alcohol here, I'm talking about the ability to just walk into somewhere, grab a pint of something and just f*king CHILL for five minutes. Outside of work, outside of home, just a few moments to yourself where the world can feck off and all that matters is you and the drink and your thoughts.

This is something I've come to appreciate more since things started easing up a bit. While I am quite happy being social, I am just as happy being on my own, going at my own pace, drinking what I want, where I want, when I want to do it. I do end up talking to anyone and everyone after a while mind, just how I am. This summer I took up cycling and, while the weather was still nice, gained a whole new appreciation for cask pints in beer gardens next to rivers.

But for a lot of last year and a good chunk of this all the beer gardens were closed, and pessimism was at an all time low. As we hunkered down and seige mentality took hold, we turned to the wonders of internet-ordered/home-delivered alcohol. For craft beer, Pop N Hops in Whitchurch, Cardiff was one of those I turned to, along with my local shop Bwrw Cwrw, and House of Trembling Madness in York. 

Living one city over in Newport, it was gratifying that I could have a regular, guaranteed delivery day/time due to the dream team of Trev the shop owner and Nicky the courier. Soon they were dropping off beer to my front door as quickly as I could drink it. Stuff I would never have had or discovered anywhere else was going into my newly acquired beer fridge at a startling rate. 

It's safe to say that Trev and Nicky kept me and countless others sane with their service throughout the lockdown periods, for which I and countless others will be very grateful.

But hang on, I hear you cry. This is PubTober, not BottleShopTober.

Well the exciting news is that Pop N Hops has begun to offer drink-in at weekends. So you can pop along (pun intended) to Whitchurch Road and gaze in wonder at what you'd only previously seen on a webpage - the incredible, infinite and insanely varied range of beer offered at this imbiber's idyll. 

Start at one end and work your way to the other

You can then buy it, get given some appropriate glassware, take a pew and relax. You can f*king CHILL for five minutes. Outside of work, outside of home, just a few moments to yourself where the world can feck off and all that matters is you and the drink and your thoughts.

Just as it should be. Just as we hope it will carry on being as we slowly and surely try to claw ourselves back to something resembling normal.

Beer. Cheese. Coffee. Records. More beer. A welcoming host. To my shame, I've only been up for a beer (or two) once. I must - and I will - go again. 

And if you can't come to Cardiff any time soon to enjoy a Pilot or a Pollys in person, there is nationwide delivery as well as local.

Drink In Times can change: check the twitter feed for more info


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