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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

298 Ratings
Ratings: 298
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 46
Beer Ratings: 273
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: 298 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MasonBeerMan
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Came here last August with my wife for our anniversary trip to a brewery. Stopped here for lunch before heading to Founders for dinner. Very nice looking place, it was very nice out, so we sat outside. Sat at a comfortable couch and sipped some top notch brew. There were so many beers to choose from that we just had a couple of samplers. The staff was very knowledgable about the beers. It seems like they had drank most of them. The food was decent, nothing special. I was able have a nice cigar out there too. Great experience and will be back there for the Winter Beer Fest.

MasonBeerMan, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of Gigantis
4.18/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

In summary,

Pros:
-Solid selection of tap beers
-nice, fun, knowledgible staff
-beautiful ambiance with high ceilings and lots of woodwork
-non-smoking

Cons:
-Lots of deutschbags came later on
-it gets busy... very busy
-could be too expensive for some
-non-smoking

Gigantis, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of david131
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%

I went up to the HopCat with bmoney575 during a beer weekend. We were both intrigued to see what the 3rd best beer bar on the plant was about. The place is beautiful inside with a bunch of paintings hung from the ceiling and a big tap list on the wall. The decor of the place was also stunning. I loved how it wasn't smokey. The service was pretty good, it didn't blow me away, but he was very attentive. The waiter seemed to be unsure of some of the stuff they may of had on tap, but that is understandable with a list as big as theirs. The food was very good, I really enjoyed the turkey reuben and the crack fries. Overall, the tap list was good, but it seems to me that Ashley's has a bit more- especially of the crazier rarer stuff. Some of the cooler beers on tap were Stone 11th Anniversary, Dark Horse Rod, Ommegang Three Philosophers, Bell's Hopslam, Stone Double Bastard, Founders Curmudgeon, Flying Dog Barleywine... They really seemed to focus on the bigger beers. The prices were also next to all the beers on the menu, which was nice for once. I was kind of surprised with the lack of Jolly Pumpkin, Kuhnhenn, and lack taps from Bell's or Founders. Overall, it was a worthwhile visit, and I will definitely go again when I am in the area.

david131, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev -2%

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.

tmoneyba, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Pudge43
5/5  rDev +8.9%

HopCat is one of those places that just makes me want to keep coming back over and over again. I just wish I did not live three hours away. This is the best beer bar I've ever visited. One word...OUTSTANDING!

I was in GR on a business trip on 1/8/09 and made it my mission to find time to make a visit. Fortunately the busines meeting lasted only a couple hours which left me time to make the visit.

This bar is beautiful with seating that says "sit down and stay awhile". 40+ taps and 150 bottles is quite the selection. The decor in this place is really rustic with the exposed brick and lots of wood.

As for the beer, there was definitely no shortage in this department. Since I only had about three hours before having to head for home I didn't even attempt the bottle selection, but it looked quite impressive. Their tap selection featured plenty of MI local brews as well as West Coast and Belgian selections. Pricing was reasonable and service was top notch (Jeremy really knew his beer). Growlers are $6 with prices very reasonable on filling. They will also fill any growler you bring in. I also want to thank the owner, Michelle for the hospitality. She and I had e-mailed back and forth a few times once I knew I was going to make the trip and she made the trip very easy.

The mural in the men's restroom is absolutely remarkable with photos of the Dead, Zappa, Johnny Cash (flipping you off when you turn around from the urinal) and many others.

I will do whatever in my power to make the trek up there again to visit this outstanding establishment. Hopefully the next trip can be a little longer. I would really like to experience the night time operation of this wonderful place.

Pudge43, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
4/5  rDev -12.9%

For living only a couple of blocks away from this place i should have a chair with my name on it. this is a beer lovers oasis. steve has some terrific beers come through there that you wont find anywhere else. dont bother showing up and expect a cosmo. this is for the beer geek. dont worry though - they still have some monday-night football favorites too. the food is great. for a very reasonable price you can enjoy your sipping with an order of the best fries on the planet - the infamous "crack fries." they have a separate second-level loft dedicated to those who need to compliment their starchy courses with some tobacco gravy. even this area is worth lounging in. its like pulling a couch out on the porch and drinking under the clearest of starry nights. the mens bathroom is nothing like youve ever seen. the ultimate "mens room." this place will be around for a long time. ill make sure of it.

now that ive given the praise, let me give the downside. whats with the staff? they need to get over themselves and focus on service. at times (most of the time) the service, particularly the bartenders, sucks. try acting like its an honor to work there and MOVE YOUR ASS!

Frosty80, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of rixport
3.45/5  rDev -24.8%

Went in with some friends from Grand Rapids while I was home on vacation. I was very interested in going to the number 3 rated beer bar as I'm a regular customer at the number 1 rated. The selection of beer was very good, but nothing really unusual. A lot of local and regional micros on tap. After fairly good service from our bartender for the first round, we all ordered a 2nd round. My friend Rick and I both got a Weissbier. Mine smelled like a swimming pool, Ricks smelled like a Weissbier. After waiting for our bartender to quit chatting it up with his friends, I finally gave up. By that time, we decided to go over to Founders which we should have done in the first place. My numbers are going to indicate a better score than I would give this pub, but I feel my responses are accurate.

rixport, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

HopCat is simply one of those beer bars that just makes me want to pack my bags and relocate to Grand Rapids, MI. This may quite possibly be THE absolute best beer bar I've ever visited. simply put... YES, it is that awesome!

I was really fortunate to visit HopCat on 11/29/08 with fellow BA's brewslut, Deuane and SierraGS. After literally getting shut out the night before (they were at capacity due to a band performance), I was skeptical that we would even get to vist. Thankfully, the Beer Gods were smiling on us, because we were able to stop in the next morning, and let me tell you... I didn't want to leave!

This place boasts an absolutely gorgeous bar with seating that just invites you to stay all day and drink from their 40+ taps. The decor in this place must have set the owner back quite a bit, but it was indeed worth the extra effort.

As for the beer, there was definitely no shortage in this department. I didn't even peruse their bottle selection, though I'm sure it was equally impressive. Their extensive tap selection featured plenty of MI local brews as well as West Coast and Belgian selections. Pricing was reasonable and service was top notch. Not only was the waitress sporting a BA T-shirt, she was also extremely knowledgeable (a self-professed beer geek) and easy on the eyes to boot!

Another big plus was the FREE juke box, which was a nice touch, albeit rather difficult to navigate and figure out. It was nice to see some Zappa in a juke box (the owner is a huge fan, apparently, as evidenced by the mural in the men's restroom). We got to meet the owner and also the manager of the place, and both were extremely friendly and jovial.

If there ever was a beer destination, this place is certainly it. I can't see myself ever visiting Grand Rapids, MI without stopping here... and hopefully for a longer time than I was permitted with this visit!

ffejherb, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of shivtim
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%

What a fantastic bar. Easily one of the best I've ever been to. It's a tall space that's semi-formal yet warm. Non smoking is a huge plus. Nice big wooden bar, with a custom-made triple arch backing on the wall. The nearly 50 taps are grouped along the bar, right in front of customers. The selection is heavy on Michigan microbrews, with some unique and rare-ish offerings. In fact, they pretty much convinced Dark Horse to brew some Thirsty Trout Baltic Porter, and then bought all of the kegs. Plenty of other American brews, and a good Belgian selection. Tons of bottles to choose from as well. Probably the best selection in Michigan, and a great place to go for out-of-staters to try stuff from Bells, Shorts, New Holland, Dark Horse, Arcadia, etc etc. Plus they have a weekly firkin! I had some of the crack fries (fantastic) but didn't eat a meal, so I wont rate the food.

The employees are incredible. The bartenders all really know what they're talking about, and plenty of beerversation takes place. The owners were chatting with people at the bar, discussing beer festivals and breweries, recommending beers and at one point even buying an Achel trappist bottle for us. The people make the place.

shivtim, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of BertSugar
4.86/5  rDev +5.9%

Took a very cold several block walk over from Founders. Very convenient location and boy was it worth it. On a Thursday night it was absolutely packed with hipster doofusses trying to score to a semi-lame jazz combo. Be that as it may, sitting at the bar we were focused on one of the best tap and bottle lists I've seen. Won't bore with the details of exact beers; but suffice it to say we were certainly not bored by any sort of usual suspects. The bartender despite being swamped was extremely couteous and attentive. He was nonplussed at having to send someone down to the cellar to retreive a special request from the bottle list. The place was done up in Chistmas finery and looked great. Very classy and I will certainly go back during, say, a Saturday afternoon when it's not a meat market.

BertSugar, Dec 19, 2008
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.