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Active Beers: 38
Beer Ratings: 189
Beer Avg: 3.82
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
25 Ionia SW
phone: (616) 451-4677
Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine.
Hours 11:30 AM - 2 AM seven days a week.
In-house brewing system up and running as of January 2009.
Large outdoor patio open year-round.
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Clearly lots of people love this place and I am no exception. Been there three times. The last time I sat inside even though it was a beautiful summer night--the bar atmosphere is just that comfortable. Two of the three times our server was a terrific gal from New Zealand (Katie?) who knows her beer and is great at engaging with drinkers on their level to recommend a good choice--from expert to beginner. I really want to try the Founders brewpub but every time I'm in town I gravitate to HopCat. Can't miss.
06-20-2011 19:03:03 |
More by fulcrum
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Directly on Ionia Street with parking lot on the side and street parking. Clean brick and wood older building with bar on right and tables in front and on the left. Forty plus taps with list on chalk board on wall. All were drinkable brews with many Michigan selections. Freindly bartender and staff with good knowledge. They have brewing equipment for future brewing operation. Interesting selection of distilled products. Reviewed good menu, but did not have food. Interesting location and well worth the visit if you are within an hours drive of Grand Rapids.
01-18-2009 01:14:04 |
More by tmoneyba
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
On a recent trip to visit my niece in Grand Rapids, I put this at the very top of my destinations. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, the festive bar/brewpub was large enough to handle a very large crowd on a late Saturday afternoon. The extensive beer list comes on a laminated sheet arranged by styles. All Michigan breweries are prominently displayed. The waitress seemed to have a good knowledge of the beers. Despite the crowd we received our drinks and food in a respectable time. The food offerings were largely sandwiches, i.e. reuben, french dip, chicago style, and addictive, seasoned "crack fries". I also purchased a hopcat tee shirt. My beer drinking and eating experience was marred a bit by the extremely hot peppers on my sandwich. The menu only referred to these peppers as spicy.
By the way, the music played was very diverse and eclectic. I even heard an obscure Grateful Dead song. Because this location is downtown, parking is a premium. There were parking lots charging 7-9 dollars; street parking was difficult to find. However, it was well worth the visit.
04-25-2011 21:00:52 |
More by jkrich
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
What a classy beer bar!
I have had the pleasure of being here around 5 times and I can't say enough. The price is a little on the high side, but the quality of brew is sick. They have a ton of Michigan brews + a wide range of others that make them one of the premier bars on the planet.
The atmosphere is plush with a lot of wood-bar, tables, that make it seam plush without being cold. Great windows in the day time to light up the bar.
The taps go on foreva! Such great selection of beer that ranges to every style, and not the normal ones you usually see. Price is up there, but worth the experience IMO.
Food is solid, especially when you get it on special + one of their own beers they brew(which are solid).
Can't wait to come back!
11-19-2011 04:21:16 |
More by JDizzle
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
Wow. What an overrated place! Not to say that HopCat doesn't have potential, but this place is anything but one of the top beer spots in the world.
We visited on 3-31-12 around 5:00 PM with a group of 10. Upon entering, we saw that this place looked pretty cool - the space is big and open, and it has charm. Cool vintage posters on the ceiling and a cool bar. Not a bad atmosphere at all, aside from the lack of any standing room and the constant seat-hawkers two people deep behind the bar stools.
The beers they make at HopCat are really average at best. We tried a BBL Strong ale that was pretty good, but the IPA (Hoppopotomus?) was a diacetyl bomb and the Irish stout was also very jagged around the edges. They were in the middle of 'cider fest' apparently and had 15 taps of cider. No worries, still had a broad selection, but I found it to be rather boring. Sure 15 more beer taps could have made a difference, but I hope they still had their best stuff on. I really enjoyed a few Paw Paw beers, but the house stuff and the Shorts beers were mediocre at best. Not to mention that the IPA really should not have been poured in a world class bar, let alone at a pub where the butter bombs are made on site. This place can't hang with Belmont in PDX, Brouwers in Seattle, Torornado or a few others I've been fortunate enough to drink in.
The service was also average. The waiter was more of a "runner" than a server. He never asked us what we liked, he just took orders. Not a personable experience at all, and it was pretty crappy turnaround. We started ordering the next beer half-way into the current and that made it work better. BY FAR my biggest complaint about HopCat is the outdated lists. Their website was horribly out of date and the bottle list would take 3-4 tries to actually get something. For a world class beer bar, the tap list on the website should be accurate as of that morning. Not a single beer on the site was there, and there was no mention of cider fest on the site. Now, on to the bottle list. If you're going to offer bottles, have them in stock. Two people in our group had to order 3 times to get a "hit". It's OK if some things are not available in the interest of not printing too many replacement lists, but the server should know what's in stock and what's not. Not only did this server NOT know, he would take 15 minutes to come back empty handed. He never made a suggestion and, I'm sorry, but if I came back empty handed I would go straight back for your next request, I wouldn't put you to the back of the line. Not to mention several misprints, including a $30 bottle that was 1/3 of the size advertised. To me, a world class beer bar has knowledgeable servers and creates a great experience. This was more frustrating than anything.
Selection was pretty good. Like 40 or 50 taps and 100+ bottles *although many of the bottles were not in stock* and the server did not know what was and what wasn't.
The food here is average at best. We started with "crack fries". For $4 a plate, we got maybe 20 seasoned french fries. They were tasty but very skimpy in portion. I ordered a Reuben wrap that was minuscule, my buddy ordered a medium rare burger that was well done. My friend who ordered the bacon red pepper mac and cheese probably choose the most wisely. My food was tasty but this place is very much glorified bar food, not a gastropub by any means.
The price was reasonable, probably $5 a pint - had a nice amount of beer and dinner for around $30 pre-tip. But here's the thing - I'm happy to pay $10 a pint for the experience of being in a world-class place. TO me that means smart, friendly, educated servers. NO BAD BEER at all. And updated lists. After all, we can't enjoy what you don't tell us.
I'm going back this year and will hit HopCat again with my wife, but we ended up leaving and heading back to Founders this particular night. This place was really average at best, and easily the most overrated/dissapointing beer bar I've been to EVER. Hope it redeems itself. I'll update this if it does.
04-01-2012 21:07:22 |
More by jampics2
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is the best bar I have ever been to in my life hands down! And the crazy thing is I went for lunch on a Wednesday!
On a recent trip to MI I thought "what the hell" and emailed HopCat not really expecting a response. I got a reply from the owner with some recommedations and welcoming me and my friends to come by. I arrived with my girl about a half hour or so after they opened and it was already starting to fill. We took a seat at the bar and started looking over the huge beer list. I asked if the owner who I had emailed was there and the bartender pointed out he was sitting right next to me. I introduced myself and he even gave my girl (after she commented on how muhc she liked the ladies room) a personal tour of the mens room as he was particularly proud of it. Very classy guy I must say.
I ordered a Shorts Huma Lupa Licious and my girl got a Shorts Nicie Spicie. We split a buffalo chicken sandwhich which came with some of the "crackfries" and it was great. The fries were so good it wasnt till I was finished that I noticed I didnt even use ketchup and I always have ketchup with fries. My friend got their mac'n'cheese which was also great. The food was very good and reasonable. Then we had another employee introduce himself (I forgot his name though) as he heard we were from Vegas. He told us about this great place to eat out here that we didnt even know about. The staff we encountered were all terriffic. We kinda felt like VIP's.
Either way this place was amazing. They didnt have any of their house brews on tap yet but they didnt need any. The beer menu, both bottles and draft, was amazing. I loved my Shorts and even got a complimentary sample of Great Lakes Blackout Stout (on nitro!). I wish we could have stayed all day but only had time for lunch as we were passing through town. It was a great time and a beautiful place. Good ambience, beer, food, and staff. You CANNOT go wrong with this place!
09-12-2008 22:38:26 |
More by bunnyhustle
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I went hear to relax and blow off some steam during a work trip. It was recommended by a local working at the Amway Grand, thanks buddy.
Really great beer selection from beers all over the world and also craft brews. I think they need to update their menu more frequently. I wanted to try a number of beers that "weren't available" anymore. The bar tender was very knowledgable and was able to make some recommendations. This is where I had my first Flanders Red (Rodenbach) thanks to the recommendation from the bar tender. Went perfectly with my greek salad. The sour and bitter of both mixed perfectly.
The atmosphere is cool. Like half bar and half beer hall. They even had the long tables with benches like at the Hofbrauhaus Munchen. Big HD tv's to watch the local sporting event, in this case the Tigers.
11-07-2008 20:32:19 |
More by MrIncognito
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
There is a reason Beer Advocate rates this place the #3 beer bar in the world: it is a blast. Hopcat makes being a beer nerd a cool and exciting experience. They have pages of available beers to choose from, including tons from Michigan and their own stuff, which is typically experimental. The place is always packed on weekends, letting the nerds depart from their basements and sample alongside real people. The food is good and American. And the people are as happy to show you new stuff as you are to try it.
02-22-2012 02:55:41 |
More by dorianmarley
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
As a beer enthusiast and Grand Rapids bargoer, it is still surprising to me that I had only been to this bar once (and that was just a quick stop in). Apparently, Hopcat is the #3 beer bar. Well, I had my doubts because, let's face it, we're talking about downtown Grand Rapids; home to such establishments as McFaddens, the Taphouse formerly known as Taps and Gardella's. For those of you who do not know, these places are meatmarkets on a good day.
Well, I'm pleased to say that the Hopcat is head-and-shoulders above those other travesties. It was busy, as is often the case I gather, but my wife and I were able to get a seat at the bar and the other patrons were nice enough to move down so that our friend could sit as well. The service at the bar was a little slow and it took about five minutes for anyone to give us the beer menu. By that point I had already gotten a pretty good idea of the selection by looking at the taps.
The menu is really one big page that divides the beers by "North American", "Michigan", and "International". The first two sections were pretty extensive with about fifteen to twenty offerings each. The latter section wasn't impressive.
The price and serving glass type are listed as well as a brief description of what you're getting (American Strong Ale, IPA, etc.)
I ordered a Hopslam and my wife got a Hairy Eyeball. She did not like the Hairy Eyeball so I traded with her. Both beers tasted great. The place started to get really busy (so much so that there was a line that a friend of mine had to wait in for twenty minutes just to get in!) later on. We found comfy seats in a booth and our waitress was fantastic. I had two more beers (Scotty Karate and and Cereberus 10).
The place is really roomy and beautiful. There is a loft where people can smoke or you could go outside to their patio which offers a lovely view of the side of Van Andel Arena and a parking lot.
While the beer was great throughout my visit, once it got busier, the same cannot be said of the clientele. What's the word I'm searching for here? Oh yeah: deutschy! A lot of drunk meatheads and their bimbettes abounded around the witching hour and they clearly weren't there for the beer because they ordered bottles of Miller Lite. One drunkard sat down at our booth and I had to be rather firm with him in order to make him leave.
I didn't eat the food, but those who did said that it was "OK". Most of the beers ranged from 4 to 6 bucks. Others were more expensive. Most of the rarer beers come in a snifter, so you aren't gonna be getting a pint every time you order. This was fine though, since by the time I finished my third beer I was certainly feeling it. The aforementioned waitress only encouraged my drinking by getting me a fourth beer and bringing me a water with it. Thanks, tootz.
-Solid selection of tap beers
-nice, fun, knowledgible staff
-beautiful ambiance with high ceilings and lots of woodwork
-Lots of deutschbags came later on
-it gets busy... very busy
-could be too expensive for some
02-09-2009 19:28:30 |
More by Gigantis
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
i went into the hopcat on on friday afternoon and had extremely high expectations due to this sight. this place definitely lives up to the hype.
I had Arcadia Sky High Rye, Shorts Huma Lupa Lucious IPA, and Founders Breakfast Stout. all were great. they had a post stating they were tapping a firkin of Founders Centennial IPA that evening.
the service was very knowledge of the brews and also willing to throw out a suggestion.
i had the Sloppy Joseph and "crack fries." i'd say it's above average pub fare.
the interior is almost all wood and kept very clean. in the back is an area where they brew a few beers. the crowd was mostly local professionals have lunch and a brew.
there is no doubt i will revisit this place everytime i go to GR. this place is a gem.
03-30-2009 01:30:43 |
More by jcompton
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI