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Not Rated.
Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
Based on:
40 Beers
210 Hads
Place Score: 100
Reviews: 197
Visits: 367
Avg: 4.52
pDev: n/a
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

Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 197 | Visits: 367
Photo of Yetiman420
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Stop #331 on my world brewery tour.

7:00 PM on a Monday in mid December. 75% full and a couple of empty stools at the beautiful bar closest to the door. Wonderful view looking down the bar with the taps and the small brewery-behind-glass at the far end.

I've been to many of the finest beer bars on both costs, Philly, Chicago, and even passed on the Kulminator on a train connection in Belgium. Blah, blah, blah I'm real cool.

Hopcat is among the best. Two or three other places come somewhat close in terms of ambiance but fall a bit short. Beautiful woodwork and modest, historic signage throughout.
Reminded me of Ginger Man in Manhattan and the painful cost per pint.

Bartender greeted me immediately with a menu. I spent some time researching my first pick (Citra Pale from Odd Sides in Grand Haven) and he was patient and knew when I was ready.

I had to ask twice and was finally told they do $1 2 oz pours. Other great beer bars advertise this policy and I think Hopcat should consider being more forward with it because I went on with the following...

House beer sampler with one word review...
Honey herb'd pale (nice)
American IPA (creamy)
Cedar Aged American Wild (muddy)
MI Maple Dopplebock (spectacular)
Chili Porter (balanced)

Other samples I had...
North Coast Grand Cru
4 Elf Winter Ale from Darkhorse
BB Shamans Barrel Aged Porter
Bells Java Stout

I had the Greek salad and veggie chili and my bill came to $24.

Some reviewer(s) complained of the price for a sample. I think it's a wonderful idea to allow a person to explore as many beers as possible.

If I had to be critical, the food was ok. The Greek salad was passable but the veggie chili tasted like a bowl of refried beans. I'm comparing this with food from the coasts and I'm not factoring this into my review because I travel enough to know it's hard to get exceptional food in the central US outside of a major metro area.

No diet beers available. The bartender recommended other bars owned by the same company down the strip for that kind of stuff. This tainted the experience a bit that a group this good at craft beer would stoop to the masses. It's technically a local chain which I can live with but was slightly disappointed. It makes sense that it MIGHT be difficult to start up/finance/operate a place like this as a stand-alone operation. Off soapbox.

This was my third visit to Grand Rapids and I'm bummed that I didn't stop her my first time (went with BOB instead...booo).

The owner of Hopcat, Mark, read this review and informed me that all the other bars he/they own (Stella, Viceroy, Pyramid Scheme) serve the kind of alcohol he would like to drink and no BMC. I was misinformed by the bartender and apologize for a review with incorrect information.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

3rd stop on my great midwest brewery tour.

A beer bar and very small brewery located in downtown Grand Rapids. I came in here on a Sunday evening about 7PM. It was about 3/4 full. The atmosphere is that of a darkened pub. 48 taps plus one cask. They were having a Jazz jam which I believe they have every Sunday evening.

The menu highlights the beers from Michigan which is really cool. The beer selection is outstanding. All top notch stuff with an emphasis on American craft. They have a very small brewery in the back where they make a few different beers themselves. The prices are great as well. There is a chalkboard behind the bar that shows what kegs have kicked since the menu was printed as well as what kegs are on deck.

Food was very good, I had a burger and it was outstanding.

This place is highly recommended. Grand Rapids is very lucky to have this place and Founders within walking distance of each other.

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Photo of mobius387
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped here for dinner and drinks one night on a road trip through western Michigan. This was undoubtedly the highlight of a trip filled with awesome breweries and brew pubs! Service is just flat out awesome. The people who work at this place go out of their way to make sure you get the most out of the beer they serve. Food was really good too. Atmosphere is very unique and the whole place seems centered around the bar which is perfect for a place that is known for their great beer. Some of the beer is a bit pricey, but considering that you can't find most of these beers on tap anywhere else, its understandable.

Overall, this was where we spent the most time at one place on our trip, and it was because this place is a fantastic place to drink beer and relax. Thanks HopCat! Can't wait to return

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Photo of jale
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What more can you say about this place. Great tap selections and great bottle list. The staff here are friendly and if you have a question they don't know they will ask someone who does. The food here is just amazing. Everyone knows the crack fries are awesome. The burgers are just as great, the best burgers around. They have a cheese ale soup which must be tried. I can easily see why this is one of the best beer bars in the country. On the weekends during the busy hours the service can be slow, but that is to be expected. Mark has done a fantastic job making this place shine. This is a must stop place when you come to Michigan.

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Photo of JDizzle
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

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Photo of cratez
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of freehafe
4.78/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

One of the nicest bars in Grand Rapids, the vibe is very chill and laid back. Many tables up front with booths towards the back, long wood bar, and outdoor patio.

The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful if you have trouble deciding (which is a good possibility with so many options.)

The beer selection here is epic. 49 on draft, 150 bottles, all served in appropriate glassware. Drafts rotated frequently. Beers range from "lawnmower" beers to locals to imports.

The food here is good, try the crack fries or the mac and cheese, wide selection, several vegetarian options, has the standard pub fare as well as more adventurous options.

Prices are reasonable, food is inline with what you expect for the price. Most beer prices are in the 4-8 $ range. The beer prices may be a bit more for those used to $2 you call its or happy hour tankards, but it is definitely within reason of what you expect for the quality beer you are getting in return.

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Photo of Labonix
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is a must if you're ever in Grand Rapids. They have a huge selection of beers to choose from both bottle and on tap. I liked how they had the beer menu set up. The beers were split up into differnt catagories based on the style of beer. The bartenders do a nice job with the service even though they have a full bar to tend. The food here was really good and it wasn't too pricey. It wasn't a long wait for my food after I placed my order. I would actually say that this place is worth a 30min or so wait for a seat.

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Photo of JohnPPutz
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited Hopcat this past weekend while I was in the Grand Rapids area for my 24th birthday weekend and this was on our agenda for the first night. First of all the beer menu was fantastic. I won't be able to remember everything I had but Key Lime Pie, BB4D, BA Shipwreck and the HopCat Hefe come to mind. All were very good, and the service was excellent. As for food, let me just say the crack fries with cheese have that name for a reason. Everything we ordered was awesome. Prices are reasonable, as 4 of us spent only about 200$ total for a few hours of beer and food(although the GF's didn't drink more than a couple) and tip. I recommend this place to anyone in the GR area and I know I'll be making a return trip in the future.

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Photo of DoctorB2B
4.78/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Last stop on my Grand Rapids bonanza. I saved the best for last apparently. Very good looking spot inside ... very high ceilings with some old time framed artwork. The bar is long with taps o'plenty.

I had the pleasure of being taken care of by Mr. Steve Schultz (hope I spelled that right). I ordered the Sage Against the Machine to sip on and the Bar-Zee Burger which was DELICIOUS!!!

I noticed they had a couple bottles I had been looking for in Michigan but couldn't get my hands on. I asked if they sold bottles to go, which they do. So I was able to walk away with a Kuhnhenn 4D and Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Shipwreck.

The service was top notch, so when you do go in, ask for Steve, you'll be well taken care of!

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Photo of b3shine
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I can't say enough good about this place! It's AMAZING!!! Everything exceeded our expectations! The food was outstanding, especially for the price! Generous servings too! The wings are a must-try! The staff is super! I wore in a 3 Floyds t-shirt, and Steve, the beer ordered (and I think brewer) complimented me on it. Not long after, he brought my wife and I over an unnamed rare beer (I don't want to get them into any trouble) that was FANTASTIC, and told us I won the "beer gear of the day award." They made customers out of us for life! And oh yeah, the beer... Outstanding esoteric selection complemented by a small but excellent selection of in-house brewed libations. We used to live in the area, bur moved away a little over 3 years ago, and they've been open slightly after we moved. I will now come here every time we come home, as my wife and I both LOVED it! Do yourself a favor and stop in. It's fantastic, and the value is great too!

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Photo of MarvinTheMarzen
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Hop Cat has to be one of my favorite bars - bar none. The place has a great atmosphere and enough room to accommodate crowds. The beer selection is really good and they rotate brews rapidly - and the write updated to the beer menu on chalkboards.

We've eaten there a few times and the selection and quality is good. Once you try the "Crack Fries" you'll understand how they got their name. The staff is also good - we got to sit at the bar during one visit and had a great time chatting with the staff. The owners even stopped by (they had seen us at another bar earlier) and we compared notes on several brews. Overall a great time and a great place.

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Photo of mjvos
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I am from Grand Rapids, and this is one of my favorite places. I often go multiple times a week. The atmosphere is really neat with a very large bar and great artwork all around. Usually quite busy, except maybe early in the week, but always a few people in.

The service is very good, and the bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable. I have been able to make some serious small-talk with some of the staff. When it's super busy later in the week at night it can take a little bit to order, but never terribly long.

The selection is extremely good with 48 taps, the most in the area, and they are constantly getting new beers cycling through to the point the menu is updated weekly. Lots of bottles as well.

For food, they have burgers, a number of different sandwiches and a couple larger plates. All the items I have tried have been delicious. Try the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork and Cheese Ale Soup!

Lastly, all of this comes at a fairly reasonable price given the quality.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nestled in downtown Grand Rapids, this bar is on the corner of the street and looks pretty cool from the outside.

Walking in, the place looks awesome. Bottles everywhere, old church pews with big tables, an outdoor patio, paintings hanging from the ceiling, a huge bar, etc. Very cool atmosphere.

My brother-in-law, father, and myself only had a short time here as it was a quick stop on our way up to Traverse City. There was a great tap list (though I will admit nothing was too crazy on it – was hoping for some legit sours or other crazy stouts but most were just run of the mill (though solid).

The food was damn good and I enjoyed my BBQ chicken sandwich thoroughly with a Short’s Huma. A very enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to go back and enjoy some more of their good food and beers.

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Photo of ahq514
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Been here a few times before but now decided to review it. Awesome experience. 48 taps, 150 bottles. All quality selections, a lot of michigan beers. Awesome service. We sat at the bar, made a comment about a half acre shirt of a guy behind the bar. Ended up being the beer buyer for hopcat and we bullshitted about beer for about 15 to 20 mins. Was really busy for a wednesday night, not a spot in the place besides at the bar. Food was also excellent and fairly reasonably priced. I would love to live in this place. Too bad I don't live in gr anymore.

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Photo of yankeej13
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My dad and I took a trip a month ago up to Michigan on a Microbrewery crawl. This was one of the places to try along the way. We were just going to go in for a beer and leave. Once we were in there our plans changed!

Once we first walked in there we were shocked at the surroundings of the place. Beer bottles everywhere a totally awesome looking interior for a beer bar!

Quality- Absolutely fantastic! Fresh beer everywhere! Loved it.

Service- The service of the staff was so fantastic we stayed almost 2 to 3 hours in this place just talking and hanging out having a good time. The staff behind the bar made us feel right at home and kept giving us free samples and just being completely awesome! Had a great time talking to them about our beer stories and what not.

Selection- Amazing had a ton of tap handles from all different Microbreweries. They had a great variety of different bottles as well! Not to mention a giant menu of their own brewed beer which was fantastic!

Value- Most reasonable prices on our trip.

Looking forward to going back to Michigan and stopping in Hopcat, this time with our intentions of being there for a while!

Thanks guys Cheers to you all!

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Photo of ElizabethCraig
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Hopcat, how I love thee!

My husband and I went there two days in a row when we visited Grand Rapids. "Bob" help us if we lived there, it would be our regular haunt.

A beautiful place, with lots of dark wood, but not so dark that it feels cave-like. There's quite a few tables, a nice decent sized bar and a standup bar rail in case the place is busy.

Late night the place was pretty hopping, we had a table near the window and each had a beer. The waiter was very helpful with beer selection and was happy to make recommendations and even bring out a few samples. Extremely kind, good service - I regret that we missed their kitchen hours that night.

We returned the next day and happily the gentleman at the bar (edited to add: Steve) was their beer purchaser! Happy day!!

We talked about a Detroit area brewery while I sampled some of their beers on tap (we will definitely visit them soon, great beers!), they sampled out a sour stout from Jolly Pumpkin that was so absolutely wonderful that we brought back a growler of it (we shared it with some local friends and spread the Jolly Pumpkin love), and we got to sample their crack fries (they are, by the way, addictive).

The service was stellar, the beers were excellent (both their own, and their draft beers), the atmosphere is very elegant, but casual.

Locals were eating lunch at the end of the bar, I like seeing local peeps eating at a bar - usually it means a good value and good food.

To sum it up, if you're in Grand Rapids go here!

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Photo of fulcrum
4.7/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of Urbancaver
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I can't believe I haven't reviewed HopCat yet... This is one of the few places I've been that time and time again is absolutely hands down THE place to stop. Phenomnal atmosphere. Huge tap list. Amazing bottle selection. Their own brews are top notch. service is GREAT, I was able to get samples for cheap and try a LOT more than ordering full pints which was especially nice for trying things like Bloody Beer. The food was super tasty (especially the crack fries) and the price was rigth on target. Overall the best beer bar I've ever been to hands down

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Photo of EnJeiBee
3.95/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is one of my favorite places to go in Grand Rapids. Their selection is smaller than only one bar in GR (Logan's Alley) and the atmosphere is amazing. That being said, they have some of the worst service of any beer bar I have ever been to! It's one of those places that has so many people who want to be there that they don't care if you leave or not. Unless you seek out your server you're probably going to be sitting with an empty beer for some time. I really wish more staffers there were like Katie (she doesn't work there anymore, but she was amazing!).

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Photo of jkrich
4.08/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of bigfurrynutz
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This was a stop on my Grand Rapids pub crawl for my 35th birthday. This is a must stop for any BAs who are passing through GR or live nearby. The selection of beers is mind boggling. It took a considerable amount of time to decide on what I was going to drink but I decided on a house beer, the Hopapotomus. It was decent but the selection of other guest beers was what really made this place worthwhile. In addition, the food here is incredible. The wife and I split an order of crack fries with cheese and they really hold up to their name, you will want more. We also feasted on macaroni and cheese which was out of thie world. When I return to GR, I will be back fo sho!!

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Another must stop during the GR tour.

Nice old school bar feel and look to this place. Killer art on the walls and specialty bottles lined up behind the bar. Long bar and plenty of booths and tables for eating. The place was packed from the moment we got there but it never felt too busy.

The selection is where this place shines. Took us a solid 10 minutes to decide. They have something for every beer geek on the menu. The server was quick and helpful with picking out beers.

The beer cheese soup was recommended highly so I ordered that for dinner. It was as delicious as advertised.

Overall a superb place for dinner and a beer. I will be stopping back every time I'm in town.

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Photo of krz001
4.88/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I love this place! The staff is great, the food is wonderful, and the beer is awesome.

I love that their beer menu always changes. When you're a regular, the bartenders know exactly what you like and what beer you need to try because it's likely the last one you had there is no longer on tap.

I enjoy that the environment is very laid back and it's the place that douche bags stay away from because it isn't a night club where they can easily hit on drunk girls. Everyone there to enjoy beer and talk to others about what they're drinking.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.