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HopCat

HopCatHopCat

Beer Stats:
Active Beers: 42
Beer Ratings: 253
Beer Avg: 3.82

Taps: 48 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
BA SCORE
100
world-class

243 Ratings
Ratings: 243
Reviews: 185
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
$$ - reasonable


[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

25 Ionia SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503
United States
phone: (616) 451-4677

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @hopcatgr

Notes:
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)
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Ratings: 243 | Reviews: 185 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Alextricity
Alextricity

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$

--My review from Yelp.--

I hadn't known about HopCat until revving up BeerAdvocate soon after I turned 21 and learned that it was apparently one of the very best craft beer bars in the country. Logically, I had to stop by when I went on a mini-trip to Grand Rapids the day after Christmas. As it turned out, it was the first of many great after-Christmas presents.

We came in at about 12:45 on a Thursday -- the day after Christmas -- and were happy to see that there wasn't a wait. The area of HopCat itself is mostly quite narrow with a brewing area in the back. Incidentally, I didn't know they brewed their own beer until a week or two ago.

We all (my sister, dad, and I) all decided to start out with their house beers (which I took a picture of). From what I understand, they rotate a decent bit, but I was pretty shocked that they didn't have a single stout or porter on-tap, considering it's late December. Overall, their beer is pretty good, and better than I had expected, but it's certainly no Founders. For what it's worth, I do enjoy their brews more than their neighbor, Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

For lunch, I got the Spicy Pulled Pork sandwich just because I hadn't had pork for awhile, and read a few positive things about it... I'm sure a bit of beer on an empty stomach helped a bit, but it was truthfully one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I've had. It wasn't smothered in BBQ sauce so as to mask the pork, the choice of brioche for a bun was a nice choice, and there was a nice but not too spicy kick as well. I felt like the slice of Swiss was a bit unnecessary considering it got masked quite a lot by the pork and BBQ sauce, but it certainly didn't ruin it. A tasty, well-made sandwich. Their Crack Fries are also pretty outstanding -- think of them as Rally's/Checkers fries, with less grease, salt, and heartburn. They're pretty peppery and have a very nice flavor to them. I wouldn't quite label them as the "BEST FRIES EVER", but there's no doubting that they're damn outstanding.

My sister chose the mushroom black bean burrito wrap, which was a pretty hefty portion. She said it was good, and ate most of it. I didn't taste it, but it certainly smelled damn good. My dad got the porter braised beef -- he enjoyed it, and I didn't hate it, but we both definitely agreed that the pulled pork was much better.

I was sort of hesitant to give HopCat a 5/5 rating because it took about 45 minutes to get our food in a not-all-that-full restaurant, but it was a good time, for sure. The 2-5pm Happy Hour Michigan Beer special (all beers brewed in Michigan that are $8 and lower are $3) was a great deal as well. Some of the beer prices seem a tad bit high, though. For instance, twelve bucks for 10oz of Ten Fidy? It's a very good beer with a pretty large ABV, but that pricing is waaay off the mark.

As a whole, HopCat is a place I'd recommend to anybody visiting Grand Rapids.

01-04-2014 22:26:03 | More by Alextricity
Photo of redmount23
redmount23

Illinois

4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $

There is a reason why this is the best beer bar in America. Beer City USA is riding the backs of the glorious people that work at this amazing establishment. Every time my wife and I walk in those doors on Ionia in Grand Rapids we are met with open arms. This is the kind of treatment that everyone should get when walking into a bar or restaurant. We will be back for years to come.

Oh and their beer list is SPECTACULAR! And let the shout outs commence! The knowledge of their brewers (Bobby and Ernie) and their beer buyer (Trevor) as well as their Head Kitten (Allison) accompanies 48 beers on draft with one cask is the best around. We usually sample most of their beers over a two day period and start getting into a beautiful bottle list as well. The food is above average bar food. Can anyone say crack fries? The secret ingredient is love and sugar perhaps? If you are within 300 miles of this place and appreciate a well thought out beer menu and a uber personal staff this is the place to come.

I am already planning our next visit in March sometime. We missed this spot as soon as we left town.

12-18-2013 17:06:26 | More by redmount23
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts

Michigan

4.21/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$

Atmosphere: just a nice bar with cool decorations that are all about beer and pop culture.

Quality: i will have to amend this when i finally try hopcat beer, but their taplist alone is of the best quality as far as bars go

Service: good service while i was there. my waitress made it around enough so i always had beer but never too much

Selection: probably about 6 of their own plus a wonderful and varied taplist. I tried 5 different beers in one night and still missed a few. looks like they have great tap events too

Overall: one of the best multitaps with the best prices for what they have

12-12-2013 19:08:54 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of kylelenk
kylelenk

Michigan

2.83/5  rDev -38.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$

Residing in GR I am fortunate to be able to frequent HopCat quite often. Being a regular, I've come to realize there is much needed for the bar to live up to it's reputation.

Atmosphere is decent but is always overcrowded. You're giving a multitude of different seating arrangements which can be either booths, couches (upstairs), picnic tables, or traditional seating. The bar looks quite dusty but my recommendation is to always sit at the bar...no matter what...as the bartenders are the only experienced staff in the establishment.

The service is obviously the Achille's Heel as the waitstaff are undertrained and unbelievably slow. I've walked in at 12:30AM with almost nobody in the bar and it has taken more than 15 minutes for a waitstaff member to come over. Additionally, I've had waitstaff confuse nitro beers with firkins...not something to expect with being named the 3rd best beer bar in the world.

HopCat has an outstanding collection if you're from out of town but often seems to cycle through beers if you're familiar enough with the establishment. Their bottle selection is quite a gem as they don't distribute menus unless you request. I was able to find some Mikeller even though it has sense stopped being distributed in the GR area.

People may rave about the Crack Fries, which are amazing, but the burgers seem to be quite generic (Sysco). Stella's across the street has hand formed burgers that come stuffed at the same price point...which is embarrassing concerning both restaurants share the same ownership.

I will say that HopCat throws some awesome parties. Their Wood and Wild Ale Fest last year brought some true whales to tap. Additionally, they throw parties when breweries enter the distro market and offer a chance to find some rarer beers.

Value is reasonable. Their specials often carry unreasonable stipulations like the $6 burger and beer combo being limited (last time) to a New Holland Kolsch despite the fact it carried the same price point as some of their own pub beers.

All in all I compare HopCat to DisneyWorld...Fun to take people when they're from out of town but you can see right through all of it's shortcomings. If they can't fix the service, at least fix the website as the taplist is sometimes months out of date...something in this day in age should be always synced.

10-15-2013 23:17:41 | More by kylelenk
Photo of neckbracesub
neckbracesub

Indiana

4.69/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$

Visited during the cold days of early February, 2013.

I had read about the astounding reputation of this craft bar a few weeks before we were set to make our trip up to Grand Rapids. I knew we should probably make it a point to stop in, so we did late on a Friday night. Needless to say, we were waiting outside for a good while before we could even get inside. This place is incredibly, incredibly popular.

The atmosphere is just about perfect. High ceilings, bustling business, and about as much seating as they can cramp into such a constantly packed house are distributed throughout.

The service was about as prompt as it could possibly be for having such a high volume of patrons at one time.

The selection of all sorts of styles of craft beer is truly remarkable and reason enough to go here. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA on the bottle list. I was quick to order one of those, no doubt.

It can be a bit pricey, but some of the rare finds on the menu more than make up for it.

08-15-2013 17:32:32 | More by neckbracesub
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.89/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $$

A large number of taps plus an outstanding bottle collection. Knowledgeable and efficient servers. Week day specials. More or less proper glassware is used. Very attractive interior is rather noisy despite the high ceilings. Beautiful wood bar houses 6 sets of taps. All of the food that I ordered or saw was nicely presented and appetizing, but didn't venture from standard pub fare. Tap list emphasizes Michigan brews. Beer menu is nicely organized by style.

08-12-2013 23:20:35 | More by chinchill
Photo of Fluffheady
Fluffheady

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -24.2%
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
Photo of coldriver
coldriver

Texas

4.5/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

We visited the night of June 24th after an easy walk over from Founder's. The first thing I noticed about this place was the great Hopcat sign over the door of their "black cat holding a beer" logo - it's really fits the vibe of this place. The Interior has beautiful classy woodwork and the vibe is relaxed and "right". It's classy without being pretentious. Being from Texas and not having much experience with what is considered rare in Michigan I can't honestly say how unique their taplist is, but I can say that after giving my bartender my style preferences that his recommendations hit it perfectly. I did not have any food but it certainly looked good. Prices are reasonable.

07-02-2013 02:44:03 | More by coldriver
Photo of Mxsluis
Mxsluis

Michigan

4.51/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$

We live an hour away, yet find time to get here about a dozen times a year. Grand Rapids is growing and so is its reputation as beer city. This place has a very good selection of beer on tap. The selection changes so never a need to be bored with the same brews if you like adventure and variety. At times the service can be less than stellar, but the beer almost always is served correctly. The crack fries are good and I really like the chicken tacos. Nice place in an old building with character. If in town for Art Prize, I strongly recommend you check it out.

07-02-2013 00:30:28 | More by Mxsluis
Photo of swanson45
swanson45

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$

I went here on an afternoon while on vacation. The staff was very knowledgeable and gave good recommendations. They could speak at a level for a beer snob and for someone who just wants to try something good or different. We were able to create our own beer flights which was great because they had a huge selection. It appears they have good events since the next day they were going to have a special dogfish head draught night. I recommend vacationing on Lake Michigan and take a trip to HopCat bar, Founders' Taproom, and New Holland brewing Company's pub while you are there.

05-21-2013 02:31:45 | More by swanson45
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HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.