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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

315 Ratings
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 34
Beer Ratings: 195
Beer Avg: 3.81
Taps: 48
Bottles: 150
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ 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)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -11.1%

This place rocks. It is very buzy, and the many small bar tables are conducive to relaxing and trying many beers. Glasses are hand washed, so the aroma is appreciated of the beers. Six new beers out of seventy something taps were changing on the fly! To talk to the brewer (there are 4 or more taps for their own) and get continued service, best to come well after the lunch crowd. Speedy service, despite not having many staff. Was here with one of the owners of Founders, otherwise I found it only average friendliness from other patrons. Founders was better in that regard. With this bar, and Founders down the street, its a wicked double play for Grand Rapids.

Sammy, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of Hoppy2Bhere
5/5  rDev +8.9%

My wife and I visited the Hopcat on the last day of a seven day tour of Michigan and it was truly the highlight of the trip. We found two seats at the large wooden bar and quickly lost ourselves in the fabulous beer menu. With 48 taps of high quality and hard to find beers, this is not an easy decision. I have been to many bars with more taps, but none with such a diverse selection, focusing primarily on high gravity local Michigan offerings. Hopcat is also brewing their own now and the Oblong Belgium Imperial IPA and Hoppopottamus IPA were both hoppy and delicious.

For dinner, I had the Killer Mac & Cheese with Sloppy Joe and tomatoes while my wife chose the Buffalo Rolls. Both were exceptional dishes and very reasonably priced.

But what really makes the Hopcat the best beer bar on the planet is the outstanding staff and service. We got a chance to spend some time talking to Mark and Garry about great beer and they went out of their way to make us feel at home. The tours and tastings and hospitality they offered was unbelievable. And the rest of the staff is so knowledgeable about the beers and so very friendly.

After spending several hours at the Hopcat, it is obvious they are doing it right, which makes me wonder why every good beer establishment doesn't engage the customers like family. This is not just a beer bar to go to while in Grand Rapids...this is a beer bar worth scheduling your vacation around like we did!

Hoppy2Bhere, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of rkpsycho
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%

My wife and I were recently in MI and we hit several breweries during our stay. Now that Hopcat is a brewery, I can classify it such, however its still just a phenomenal beer bar.

We visited Hopcat twice on our visit and lucked out both times having Kathyrn be our waitress; she was the reason for the high service mark.

The selection at Hopcat is excellent, with several rotating taps and a great selection of MI beers. Plus they will fill growlers of anything from their taps.

This is major plus, cause we stopped at Bell's and they would not fill growlers, stating they have no control over quality once its filled, yada yada. However Hopcat had no problems and that's great cause my wife really likes the Bell's Poolside that they had on tap.

I loved the Shorts Nicey Spicey; it was better than I remembered from the last time I had it up in Bellaire at the brewpub.

Definatley worth their high ranking; you must try if you are ever within the area.

rkpsycho, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of proseberry
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Hello, O.K., my copious cat scratch notes were left at the bar, so let's just wing it. Went to H.C. solo during a road trip to Northern Michigan and immediately felt at home. My waiter, "John the Drummer", left me to my own devices as to selecting my brews to quaf, but was very keen when I asked for suggestions. I sat on the Hop Cat patio and enjoyed the "Big Pretzel", and the "Fire Wings" with my bevs. Delicious from top to bottom. While my highlights were the New Holland Oaked Hatter, the Lagunitas 2009 Correction Ale, and a Belgian Sour (I forget the name, sorry), everything Hop Cat had to offer was top shelf and fresh. Timm the "Chancellor" stopped by and greeted me graciously. I got through 10 of the 49 taps, and each one was perfectly presented in the correct glass. Great prices and perfect ambiance. Being first on the patio that evening, I left it completely filled to capacity. I would implore anyone going to Grand Rapids to stop by and enjoy everything Hop Cat has to offer. As I wrote on my bill, this was the best beer bar experience I've ever had. A million thank yous to the great staff. I'm look forward to returning same time next year; I wish this was a bit closer to home! Cheers!, Patrick

proseberry, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of troywhittaker
3.43/5  rDev -25.3%

I was really looking forward to this based on the Ba reviews. I did get to enjoy a couple regional beers, but the first three things I asked for were either out or not tapped (yet listed on menu and/or chalkboard).

The clientele was your typical Friday night crew and a bit younger (and rowdier) than I'd prefer.

Had some fries with my IPA's, but didn't taste anything else.

Overall very nice and polished, but not someplace I'd go frequently.

Wait staff was either overworked or indifferent, didn't see server much after the first order.

--
Update: I was contacted by the HopCat GM via BeerMail and after a series of email conversations, can advise that HopCat mgmt is sincerely interested in taking care of their guests. I was not asked to change anything in my review, but feel it's fair to give some credit for their candor and interest in correcting issues that affected my experience. I've bumped the service from 2 to 3.5.

troywhittaker, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of akorsak
4.18/5  rDev -8.9%

Visited following dinner at Founders. The end of Day 1 of the Michigan tour.

Atmosphere: The bar is great, long and wooden with multiple tap line-ups. There appeared to be outdoor seating, although we settled down inside.

Quality: Two of the first three beers ordered were either freshly kicked or on yet on tap, a bad start to the night. I didn't leave the table, so I can't comment on anything else.

Service: We had a good time with our waitress. She was especially understanding when both JP beers that we ordered were kicked or still on deck. She recommended replacements and chatted us up.

Selection: Wow. A focus on Michigan but still too much good stuff. I wish that I had been here earlier, as I was just too waterlogged to dig into the taplist.

Food: Didn't eat.

akorsak, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of atpben
5/5  rDev +8.9%

This place came highly recommended by my friends and on the BA forums. I gotta say off the bat. This is the best beer bar I have ever been to. Great atmosphere as soon as you enter the establishment. High ceilings with lots of sitting room inside and outside. There is a great smoking lounge upstairs wich I loved since I do smoke occasionaly. And of course the selection was awesome. All the great Michigan beers were respresented quite well there. I first had the Reissdorf kolsch which was on tap. I had the pleaser of meeting and speaking with Garry Boyd - Ringleader. Great guy and he was nice enough to share some bottles from the inside with me. The Stone-Nogne O collaboration beer and two other beers from Dieu Du Ciel both excellent. I had a great time there. I would also like to thank Brett the brewer, Corey our bartneder and Mark the owner. Great bunch of guys and they better believe it that I will be back next time I'm in GRR. And I would definately will be telling all my friends about it. A+ all way.

atpben, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

HopCat was one of the reasons I stopped in at Grand Rapids and it did not disappoint.

Great tap list - hard to choose but the guys behind the bar steered me in the right direction. Was busy when I stopped by in the afternoon (some event) but was much more subdued when I came in that night - guess Sunday night's not a busy night.

Food was good, standard pub fare. Had the quesedilla and then their flagship burger with jalapenos. Both times sat at the bar.

Great vibe, people who enjoy their beer, friendly feel. Close to the top of my list.

ritzkiss, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.59/5  rDev -21.8%

Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth? Boo, I disagree! The beer selection is pretty good (you can check the website which is a plus) and the layout is good too.

But how did this place become 3rd best in the world? It isn't even in my top 20 in North America. Actually it's not even my top choice in Grand Rapids. My real beef is that you have to pay $1.50 for a small sample to see if you like a beer. On top of that, the server wasn't able to describe the beers (other than "it's an OK IPA"). So I ended up getting a crappy pint. Compared with the best practices of many other establishments regarding samples and information, I find this bar to be lacking in consumer sympathy.

Having said the above, you have a wide selection of beers to choose from, loads of TV's, good pbeer-related posters on the walls and ceiling, very good in most non-service respects. I'd highly recommend Founders over Hopcat (about 4 blocks away), but if you must try something non-Founders this place is close.

TurdFurgison, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of reallyhoppie
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

Hands down the best selection and most knowledgeable staff I have ever encountered, and I can be pretty critical of both of those aspects of bars. The vibe was awesome, the food was great (can't beat the Thurs. special), the service was incredible, and the beer selection is unparalleled. Though the selection of HopCat's own beer is currently limited, after talking to the brewer and trying what they did have, I'm convinced that their own brews have a great future. Bret, Corey, the owners, and the rest of the staff went above and beyond.

If you are anywhere near southwest Michigan you absolutely must stop by HopCat. I'm planning part of a vacation around it myself.

reallyhoppie, May 30, 2009
Photo of EffinABubba
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

One of the coolest bars I've been in, hands down. If you're a jazz fan, you'll love the murals (e.g. Thelonius Monk, etc.), if you're a beer fan, you'll love the selection and beerphanalia, if you're a fan of comfortable bars with interesting decor, you'll be at home. This is a very nice bar that isn't pretentious. You can comfortably mix crowds. Mark, the owner, was present at our visit and was very friendly and extremely generous to us out-of-towners. We also saw him circulating through the bar chatting with folks, so he proves himself to be a man interested in the experience of his guests. Mark introduced us to Steve, who I believe is either the bar manager or operations manager. Anyway, Steve gave us a tour and made sure we had a chance to try beers we normally wouldn't have had a chance to try or didn't have on our radar screens...and all this during a busy evening. I highly recommend this place!

EffinABubba, May 26, 2009
Photo of Baileyuk
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%

Well after finally getting to eat here off the regular menu I am able to fully put in a review.

I fell in love with this place as I watched a Soccer Match on the flat screen (a perfect amount in the place). The feel has a true pub feel to it for some reason, so many have tried but this is good.

Quality of the building, selection, staff knowledge, and everything else is awesome.

Selection is top notch, probably the best in Michigan. There are a few close to it but with seeking out rare finds this is just above. Lots of Shorts including some stuff they aged themselves so even I did not have any anymore. They have some shared storage space in the old mines. Little touches like that put this into the elite tier.

Food was excellent, I have been to a couple of beer dinners and was very satisfied but this was my first trip. Was no kids menu which was not the end of the world due to some appropriate choices on the menu anyways. Was not a great fan of my barbecue sauce but I put that down purely to personal preference as my wife liked them alot. Fries awesome, as was the coleslaw.

Baileyuk, May 23, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
5/5  rDev +8.9%

First off just let me say I had a better time visiting here than at Founders for the day. I didn't really know what to expect when I walked in there but I figured this had to be a good place. Good doesn't even begin to really say how I felt. I was blown away when I first walked in and noticed how big the place was. The beer (tap) list was amazing with beers from all over the place. And the bottle list had even more of a stranglehold of beers from all over the world. This is the place to go if you are ever in Grand Rapids. Prices were very reasonable and Mark is very friendly and helpful (thanks for the beer shop advice). And talk about a great host (thanks for cracking open those beers). I have been to a lot of "beer bars" and this one by far is the best I have been to. The staff was friendly and even though I didn't taste the food I saw many plates come out and it did look quite good. I can't wait to swing back up there when I get a chance. Just simply amazing....I don't know what else to say.

Edit: After forgetting to mention this in the original post I must say the bartender Kim was amazing. She was friendly and even took time out to make small talk with us. And take our picture..in the women's bathroom. She rocks....times 10!

alleykatking, May 18, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%

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.

Bung, May 15, 2009
Photo of JordanEllwanger
5/5  rDev +8.9%

After months of being told to visit I finally did. Had a little trouble finding a seat at first, and had to stand behind my wife until a neighboring stool opened up, which was before I finished my first beer. Upon finishing my first beer I happened to glance up at the vintage posters randomly hung on the nice high ceilings. Ordered another beer and a veggie burrito, that was outstanding.

Superior selection. 48 taps & 150 bottles. Including Hopcat's very own brews.

Atmosphere is killer. Black and white photos of some of the greatest rock artists of all time in the men's room.

Helpful, attentive, and knowledgeable staff.

While it is a bit pricey the food is great.

By far the best bar experience I have had.
Cheers,
Jordan.

JordanEllwanger, May 13, 2009
Photo of regeimbk
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

Had an odd run-in here with a homeless man who asked me and my girlfriend if we wanted to be in his movie and sat on top of our stuff so he could sit in our booth. However, as soon as customers complained, the man was kicked out.

The food here really is good. I've never had any complaints about it. The fish and chips is delish. Burgers are awesome. Steak is yummy. They have "crack fries" which I wouldn't call addictive, but they are good, especially when dipped in their cheese sauce. Whoever is cooking back there is doing their job.

Beer selection is awesome--duh.

Can be hard to find a table in there some nights, especially in the winter when their outdoor patio isn't open. When we were there, there wasn't a bike rack (not sure if there is one now), so we chained our bikes to a street sign. When we were getting ready to leave, a cop car pulled up beside our bikes and sat there for what felt like fifteen minutes. We had heard stories of cops ticketing bikers for locking their bikes to signs so we had to wait it out. Then we crunk road it.

regeimbk, May 03, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%

Now this should be the model by which all beer bars are built from. Wow, what a place! Very classy and clean interior. A bar that is probably fifty feet long with taps lining it's entirety. And these are not just filler taps. They have a couple Short's, and everything else you could imagine that's available in Michigan. Plenty of space and relaxing. I ordered the Burger with beer cheese and it could have possibly been the best burger that I have ever eaten. Paired it with a Short's Huma Lupa and I'm in heaven. I can imagine this place would get crowded during the weekends, but this is a must stop. I could spend a long time in here just working my way through some taps. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Great place that is only a few blocks from Founders. This place is a must stop.

FtownThrowDown, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of nhudson
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

Man this place... I am so glad I came here today. From the south there are not too many places like this. The Brickstore in Decatur GA is the only better place I have been to this being 2nd. Soon as you walk in you are overwhelmed by the tap selection. I didnt count, but others have said 48 and its 45-50 taps on the bar. They had everything and it took me a minute to figure out what I wanted. I went with the cask they had today which was the New Holland Dragons Milk. Not too many people out on an Easter afternoon so service was awesome. Hamburger and their crack fries. I sure wish I could have gotten more fries they are awesome! Very nice bottle selection, only thing holding them back is a vintage bottle list otherwise I would have given them a 5.0. If you are ever in grand rapids go here. There are no excuses for not hitting this place up.

nhudson, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of moshea
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%

What else can you say about HopCat that has not already been said? The place looks great as you walk in. The bar area is dominated by a great ornate bar back the rest of the bar looks as good with some fun twists thrown in.

Service was top notch. Marc the owner and his wife stopped by introduced themselves and shared some beer knowledge. Steve was great, steering me through some selections from Shorts and the Livery I could not get at home. I mentioned to Steve that a friend was through last June. Steve immediately remembered that my friend had bought a bottle of beer but left it at the bar and asked me to take it to him.

The selection is great with 48 taps and over 150 bottles. All the Michigan heavies are present and the rest of the country and world are well represented. Be sure to ask to see the reserve list. They also recently began brewing their own beer. The Barley Wine I had was fantastic and a great example of its style.

I cannot recommend this place enough. HopCat and Founders have taken a small corner of Grand Rapids and turned it into a top notch beer destination.

moshea, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of NealCassady
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

My favorite beer bar. The place has very nice decor that gives it an old time quality feel. There are a long row of assorted taps from great Michigan brews to Belgians. The bottle list is extensive to say the least. They usually have a very good beer on handpull as well. All the food I have had is good, but a little pricey. Ambiance seems to stay chill along with the laid back staff. I have yet to hear a song playing that I didn't like. I also Met the ringleader and he is great, loves beer and having fun.

NealCassady, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of jim102864
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

jim102864, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of jcompton
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

jcompton, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of RxforBeer
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

We visited the Hopcat while in Grand Rapids for the KBS release. The Hopcat is one of the best beer bars and it is exceptional in many ways. It provides a great place to relax and enjoy outstanding brews. Their selection of beers is one of the best I have seen. They offer a wide range of Michigan micros - some of which can not be found in Ohio. So there was some other pleasant suprises we discovered along our journey for KBS. The service was a 5+++, as Garry and his crew went above and beyond to make our visit outrageously wonderful. THey got to know our tastes and recommended beer after beer and never misled us. I can not say enough great things about this place and the people. It is a beer bar that every true beer drinker must visit. Grand Rapids - you are one lucky town.

RxforBeer, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of Ktown67
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%

Great beer bar. I was in town with some friends for Founders KBS Release Party and we decided to stop at the Hopcat for a beer and ended up staying for a session (6 hours).

Garry (GM) and his bartenders are very knowledgable and great hosts. The tap beer selection is nice (20+ of the 48 taps are MI brews) and the bottle book has some gems. I think I tried just about every Jolly Pumpkin they had. They brew their own beer and it too was solid. especially seeing they had only been brewing for a month or so.

A must stop for any beer lover traveling through Michigan.

Ktown67, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of twelvsies
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%

Apparently this place is a relatively new beer bar, but I'd never been to Grand Rapids before so it was brand new to me. Been doing some beer travels the past few months and now finally getting around to recording them. This place is big - giant room, very brassy and polished looking, almost like a big old dining room or something. Lots of giant paintings of musicians on the walls and great music playing as well. I think the owners must be into jazz or something. Service was fine and the bartenders seem to know what they're doing, even got a nice recommendation for something new. The points for the selection at HopCat come from their wide array of local stuff. Lots of Michigan breweries featured here with a nice big menu with plenty of explanations and reading material about the beers. Local cask beer too, always a bonus. They had some nice Belgians but I wasn't wowed by that part of the menu. Still, HopCat is a pretty great place where you'll find something unusual and get into the local beer scene.

twelvsies, Mar 20, 2009
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.