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Active Beers: 40
Beer Ratings: 229
Beer Avg: 3.83
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
25 Ionia SW
phone: (616) 451-4677
Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine.
Hours 11:30 AM - 2 AM seven days a week.
In-house brewing system up and running as of January 2009.
Large outdoor patio open year-round.
(Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 183 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Visited a couple of times on a recent beer trip to Grand Rapids.
Really great atmosphere, 50 beers on tap, a large bottle selection and friendly service.
I was a little bit puzzled by their lack of Michigan beer on tap - they seemed to have one from each of the big breweries but a complete lack of Bell's (and Hopslam is in season), only 1 Dark Horse & 1 Shorts beer were on tap. The overall mix was pretty good, keeping in mind that about 10 of the taps were Hop Cat house brews.
Over my two visits I tried about 6 or 7 different beers.
The food here is great! They have a number of appetizers that are amazing, including some of the best chicken wings that I have ever had.
I will return here some time soon for sure.
03-14-2011 14:10:52 |
More by TheSevenDuffs
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I had no idea Grand Rapids was so big: The CSA has about a million and a half people, making it just a tick small than Indianapolis. Shouldn't they have a sports team or something? I'm sure Western Michigan is a fine institution, but there football team isn't FBS and therefore their school doesn't count as being real.
The downtown area is weird. It is large, it is filled with people and things, but because of arbitrary cultural prejudices, it also feels illegitimate. There's no Wrigley Field moment, where the first time you see a Grand Rapids landmark you go "whoa, there's X!" So even though I'd heard of Hopcat, I nearly walked right past it when I saw it.
Likewise, I was not immediately impressed with the place, even though I should have been. The bar stretched on forever, and there were literally a billion taps (my math might be off here).
We sat down and were handed laminated beer menus. My companion is new to the beer travelin' scene so I explained to her how these menus ain't always the best thing, since they get so quickly out of date. Then she goes "that's probably why they have that," and pointed toward a kickass chalkboard that had two columns on it. One column said "RUNNING OUT." The other "WILL BE REPLACED BY." That's awesome, and it made me start paying attention.
The menu was organized by style, not by brand or in alphabetical order. A pithy description of each beer was given, including style, ABV, IBU, and a line or two listing off its more salient characteristics. A list like that takes time to make.
The taps included a wide range of locals, midwestern/great lakes staples, interesting Belgian and Scandinavian imports, and a hearty selection of rares and one-offs from all around the globe. There was a beer for every mood and all of its was good.
The vibe was friendly, but a little Grand Rapidsy. I don't know how to describe it: we were certainly welcomed, but I couldn't figure out the pulse of the place well enough to really ingratiate myself into it. Still, the crowd was older and polite--there were no undergrads, no people in business suits, and no screaming drunkards. That's pretty good.
A definite must-stop.
06-21-2012 16:28:43 |
More by mynie
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Being from the U.P. of Michigan, HopCat has been nothing but a mystical beast for me. 460 miles away, there is no way I could travel there to enjoy all it's splendor, and make it home safely, right? Well, I just happened to be passing by, so enjoy I did!
HopCat has a really great corner location right in downtown GR (which is booming with youth, Michigan's light right now). Parking can be a bit tricky, just bite the bullet and park in the nearby parking garage. It's only a short two block walk to your every wish and joy.
The beer menu is vast. I hardly even looked at the bottle list, but most of the premium bottles were in front of my in their large "beer to go" cooler, so I checked it out. Impressive. A good mix of great beers from around the U.S., some really nice Belgian treats, and the who's who of Michigan barley pops.
The tap list is incredible though. I missed the remnants of the Wood and Wild Ale festival a few weeks early, but the tap list was still very impressive. Since this was my first time visiting, I had to try a house brew, the Frontiersmen. It was an interesting American Wild Ale aged in Cedar (which always blows my mind, being a whisky guy, cedar is a huge NO NO). Beer was pretty tasty. Nice funky notes, not too sour, but good depth of flavor, and the cedar really supported what was going on.
Food was good, atmosphere was upbeat with young business people from the local community. Great stop. I will be stopping again next time I pass through. It surely lived up to all the hype I had heard.
12-20-2011 15:38:38 |
More by MarcatGSB
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $
First stop on a recent trip to Grand Rapids with nicktbm and our significant others. This legendary pub is a beer geek’s wet dream. Inside sports a massive old-fashioned bar, 6 towers with 50 craft taps, countless tables throughout the interior, and a bustling, party-like atmosphere with killer background music and lots of college-aged beer drinkers. We grabbed a four-person booth beside the bar.
Our waitress was very friendly and efficient. Drinks and food arrived quickly and she made some helpful beer suggestions to my oenophile girlfriend.
The draught and bottle selections are redonkulous. All of the beers are sorted by style and they have tons of rare and cellared offerings from around the world. As an example of how insane the beer menu is, they had 6 barley wines on tap. That alone is worth a "5." Our group ordered a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Arcadia Hopmouth DIPA, HopCat Weizen, and Bell’s Oarsman Ale on draught and a Saint Somewhere Saison Athene, BrewDog Mikkeller I Hardcore You, and Baird Red Rose Amber out of the bottle. The Hardcore and Oarsman were my favourites of the night.
Food is pretty good as well. I went for the Applewood Smoked Bacon Grilled Cheese while the lady had a Turkey Bruschetta Burger. Each came with a side of Crack Fries and both dishes tasted fantastic. Prices are incredibly fair as 8 drinks and 2 entrees came to less than $70.
Overall, this place boasts an unmatched beer list at excellent value with a really fun vibe. HopCat is the main reason we came to Grand Rapids and we were not disappointed. An essential stop in Michigan and the best beer bar that I’ve encountered so far.
11-02-2011 20:32:33 |
More by cratez
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in here post-KBS release party. About a five minute walk from Founders.
After Founders, this place was packed also. A decent sized bar with lots of brass tap towers displaying all the tap markers. Plenty of woodwork and the place is spotless. Lots of seating (for a smallish bar), and a small area up stairs has more. A brew house sits out back, and they had a few of thier own brews on tap. I had the Belgian Dubble which was damn tasty.
Selection is regional heavy (almost exclusive). Dark Horse, Shorts, Arcadia, Livery, Atwater, Founders, Arbor, Bells, etc. A great line up with Belgians, IPAs, Stouts, and odd balls thrown in.
Service was decent, as I was able to get a beer at the bar as soon as I was able to catch the eye of a bartender.
I didn't try any food, and I don't know if they even serve it. There was no place to sit so I scooted after one. I could definately see spending some serious time here though.
03-19-2009 19:09:52 |
More by brewandbbq
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I stopped at HopCat Saturday after the winter beer festival. The place was packed, and after a little search found a few empty barstools to occupy. The crowd was a mixture of beer geeks and young professionals out on the town. There are HDTVs above the bar, and a good mix of music from old school James Brown to Zepplin played at a volume that allowed for conversation.
The menu is mostly sandwiches and comfort food of high quality. I had a fish sandwich with crack fries and side of mac & cheese. The fish was broiled tillapia with a cajun spice rub served on a tasty fresh roll. The mac is a stove-top mac, but the cheese sauce is much better than the blue box powder. The crack fries are seasoned battered fries, usually not my favorite, but these had a nice garlic kick and were perfectly crisp and golden. The food nearly equalled the beer.
HopCat boosts 48 taps plus 100 plus bottles. Approximately half of the taps are Michigan beers. Bell's, Founders, New Holland, Shorts, Dragonmead, Kuhnhenn, Michigan Brewing and the Livery were represented. The goodness didn't end there. The rest of the drafts were craft brewers too. The only exception I saw on the menu was listed as "lawnmower beer" which is one of the old lager brands at a time; pabst, strohs or something else.
Service wasn't great, but it was forgivable. The bartenders were busy the entire time we were there. They do know beer, and gave lots of good recommendations to those that were intimidated by the beer list.
The management and owners of HopCat understand beer. great beer + great food = great bar
02-24-2008 23:54:07 |
More by frazbri
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I remember this place being the Sierra Room, a wine joint. What an improvement this place has become. Too bad this wasn't around when I actually lived near GR.
Nice woody interior, like many downtown GR bars. Place for a band near the entrance windows. Porch outside is nice, for 4 months of the year. Upstairs smoking lounge is a real nice touch and does seem to keep the smoke out of the rest of the establishment.
Definetely have not seen a better beer selection, a few maybe equal, but none better. Good selection and variety and plenty of local brews. Shorts being the treat for me. The Hopcat brand stout was not bad either, just not quite as good as the Chocolate Wheat from Shorts. Vintage stuff seemed a bit pricey, but I've never understood the "cost" of keeping something in a cellar. For a restaurant I suppose there could be some, but the basement is there whether they use it or not, it's not like it is an extra cost. Anyways, this is far and away the best place to stop in GR. If you don't want to come downtown, try Logans Alley or Graydons, but you might as well come the rest of the way.
Another kudos, Hopcat was kind enough to politely explain the cost for a business to keep a cellar, which makes absolute sense in that it ties up money. I was more caught up in some BA's thinking their $15 dollar beer is now worth 2 of my $10 beers because you kept it in your basement, but I digress.
05-15-2009 02:04:00 |
More by Bung
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Another gem within walking distance of my hotel while on business in Mason, MI but actually staying in Grand Rapids (and doing the 80 mile drive each day just so I could check out Founders. See my review). I started my visit with a Madrugada Obscura by Jolly Pumkin. A RIS sour (wow) that the bartender said was difficult to get and that they hadn't had for over a year. Everbody out here seems to know quality. It was served a tad too cold so I let it sit. As to the atmosphere itself, it reflects the neighborhood which is in an area with brick sidewalks and vintage buildings. You will see a high wooden plaster and lathe exposed wood ceiling with a lovely cherry wood bar back with arches like a cathedral. Large, leather padded bar stools and handsomely decorated tall wooden chairs with elephants or a beer drinkers face lightly painted on them. Sorta loud music plays which was only mildly annoying. There is a long bar which is primarily straight but curves at one end like a question mark. Interesting throwback twenties and thirties era framed posters hang from the ceiling. Looks like about 50 taps with MI very well represented. I also met the owner, Mark. What a cool dude. If I recall correctly, he is in the financial investment world by trade and became a beer enthusiast whose travelled all over the country and has been to the best beer bars. It shows in the level of quality brew offerings and the beer enthusiast supportive atmosphere. We shared a 750 of Shorts Imperial Black Cherry Porter. Awesome stuff. Gary the bartender said it was a two year old bottle. God I loved this place. Next was the Dragonmead Final Absolution Triple. I finished my solid experience with a Shorts Chocolate Wheat Porter. A must place to visit if in Grand Rapids, only a short walk from Founders.
04-04-2009 12:17:23 |
More by jim102864
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $
Some times it pays to start your beer drinking in the afternoon. I came here with a friend on a visit to Grand Rapids and this was our first stop. They had so many beers on tap—I was overwhelmed at first by the number of handles at the different stations spanning the length of the bar—until I learned they will provide you with a ‘menu’ of available beers. It just so happened our visit was following a Short’s take over so there were a lot of Joe Short’s tasty beverages on tap.
That many offerings alone would make me a regular. I mean, just when you’ve worked your way through the board there’s always going to be something else you just have to try coming up, right? It’s a tough life, I know.
Even better was our server who endured/enjoyed our beer geek questions, shared recommendations and tasting notes of his own, and—in what has become the stuff of legend—poured us a flight of their house beers that was somewhere more on the side of half-pours than tasters. Truly epic! We left a hearty tip on a tab that should have been tripled anywhere else. Between this and Founders Grand Rapids beer drinkers have it made.
01-09-2012 22:16:32 |
More by elNopalero
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25 | $$
The bar is BEAUTIFUL. The decor is off the charts. The beer selection is great. The staff and patrons ruin it.
Lots of douchebags. On both sides of the bar. On one particular visit (with a group of people that has a lot of industry experience) we asked for a taste of 2 beers. The girl behind the bar told us ’they are basically the same’. We still asked for the tastes anyway, and they were very, very different. This was after waiting more than 10 minutes for one of the 5 bartenders behind the bar to even acknowledge our presence. It was a moderately busy Friday evening ( I have been here in several times, so I’m not just basing this one visit). The bartenders had their backs to the customers, and they were gathered around a phone. When we finished our first round, we waited another 10 minutes with empty glasses before the bartenders turned around. The guy looked super annoyed that we asked for a beer. Same experience when ordering the second round.
I have 2 words for this place. Over it.
If I were the owner, I would ruffle some serious feathers. This staff sucks. If the bartenders could do their jobs, I could have given this place a near perfect rating.
08-05-2013 01:55:57 |
More by Fluffheady
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
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