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Not Rated.
Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
Based on:
39 Beers
208 Hads
Place Score: 100
Reviews: 197
Visits: 362
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: 362
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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Photo of hurfer
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've been to The Hopcat a few times now and not sure what else to say that others haven't already said. It is one of the best beer bars I have been to any where.

49 taps very heavy on Michigan beers. They also have their own small brewery setup and brew some very nice beers themselves. Bottle list is also great.

Service is where they really take it to the next level, everyone that I have talked to that works there is very knowledgeable. I always enjoy getting to talk to Steve & Timm, they know their beer.

This place is reason enough to make a trip to Grand Rapids, and that's saying a lot in a town full of great beer.

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Photo of lloyd83
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Visited this place after going to the tapas joint down the street. Wasn't 'in the know' at the time as to how absolutely cool it is, but as soon as I sat down I was literally overwhelmed. The beer menu is friggin' GIGANTIC. Stuff I'd never heard of, never seen before, etc. My sister lives in GR. She's lucky that we stumbled upon this place, as it means that we'll definitely be coming back for another visit! Growler fill seemed a bit expensive though; $43? I haven't bought many, but that's been the highest thus far!

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Photo of brew3crew
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

A-Place was crowded, but not crowded enough where you couldn;t here what the person you were with was saying. A good kind of crowded. Love it

Q-Clean, smoke free and nice workers. What more can you ask for?

S-Exceptional! Friendly patient and they know alot about their beer. This is the reason they are ranked #3 bar in the world!

S- Crazy selection! over 40 beers on tap as well as their own. i wish I had this in my hometown!

F- Didn't have much. but their cracked fries are UNREAL!! only $3? are you serious?

V-You can get a taste of beer for $1. I tried I have never had before. Awesome!

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I stopped here with my girlfriend for lunch on our way home from a wedding in Michigan because I had heard great things about this place. The atmosphere was really cool looking. Not only did it have a normal high quality old world beer bar going with lots of wood decor and the ever-changing chalkboards above the bar it was cool. The place was decorated in a Bohemian Style and the chairs were covered in what seemed to be some sort of French art and jazz was playing over head. This just came off as a very classy establishment. The quality of this place was pretty good. It seemed that if it wasn't a Sunday afternoon in January they may have had some amazing stuff on tap. As far as Barleywines were, they had a lot of things with some serious age on them that were really tempting, but overall my choice was for a year-old Batch 9000. The service was good, our waitress was attentive, and seemed to know how everything was done. I never really tested her because for the most part I knew of everything on the menu. The food was pretty tasty, I enjoyed a pulled Beef sandwich and my girlfriend went crazy for a veggie wrap that she thought was amazing. The prices of beer are a little on the high side unless you get a HopCat beer, but the food prices are in some instances on the cheap end. Overall an enjoyable experience, I would love to be back with a different tap list.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.86/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

What more can be said about the number 3 beer bar in the United States. Place had a totally cool retro feel to it and a long line of tappers. Considering the volume of micros to try it would already be more than enough, but... oh they also make their own beers.

Looked for probably forever through their menu of beers. Found a few I had to try and also tried a few of their house beers and really liked their barleywine. I considered getting a growler for the $33 they asked, and although steep would have normally done it if I hadn't spent an astronomical sum at other breweries.

Service was good, but considering I was there on a weekday during afternoon is to be expected. Did not however rise above the masses much though.

A place I would definitely come to again.... Founder's and this place a few blocks apart.... wow!

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Photo of SlowCentury
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is a beautiful old watering hole which I miss very dearly. I since had an opportunity to stop in during a visit home recently, and this time could fully appreciate it. The appearance is very well kept and classy, but not to the point where you feel out of place in jeans and a t-shirt, it is a place to drink beer after all. They offer a remarkable selection of beer without being redundant and still highlighting that sweet Michigan brew that I miss so much. I've been to bars with twice as many taps that still end up boring me with their selection. Not the case here. This is any beer lover's dream come true. Service is decent, pretty average, but the front of the house is genuinely friendly which goes a long way for me. Good upscale bar food to top things off. I used to eat lunch there somewhat often while I lived in GR so that says something considering all the close competition for the style. Overall, I have no trouble seeing why HopCat got the honor of being rated BA's #3 beer bar in the world. Well done.

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Photo of slowbie
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I used to go to this place quite a bit when I lived in the area, but after a trip back I decided to finally write a review.

It's a dimly lit place with a good amount of seating, even better during the summer. I like the atmosphere quite a bit on their less busy days but it gets really loud and really packed on weekends and some weeknights.

They carry some of the best quality beer of any bar I've been to. One BMC-ish option and a bunch of craft. They are probably the only place in west Michigan that you will find Kuhnhenn, and they are likely to carry beers from other great Michigan stops such as Dark Horse and Shorts (and of course Founders and Bells).

They also brew their own beers, many of which are, for lack of a better word, weird (e.g. sage pale ale, orange IPA). Whenever I've ordered one that sounds good it's been excellent though and the prices are relatively cheap for the quality of beer. However, about every other time I go all of the Hopcat brewed beers look a little too out there for me. (Though I'm admittedly not a fan of too much spicing in my beer).

I'm ranking the service above average because every server in there is more knowledgeable about beer than at most places. However, from a non-beer knowledge standpoint, the service is average at best. I've never had a great waiter/waitress, and I've had a couple that were not so great.

As far as selection goes, I've been to places with twice the taps and half the selection of Hopcat. This is helped by the fact that they have one rotating BMC tap. The other taps tend to change with the seasons (i.e. I couldn't find a barleywine on tap last summer but when I went recently the menu was mostly barleywines, stouts, and strong ales).

The food is good, the fries are better, although I haven't been overly impressed by their other appetizers. But nobody goes to hopcat for the food anyways.

Hopcat has the best selection in the area, but it doesn't have the best prices or service. Their prices get especially dicey on the more expensive beers. Still a great place that I plan on returning to though.

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

I feel like a broken record saying awesome things about HopCat just like everyone else, but:
Bottom Line Up Front - If you are anywhere in MI, you MUST visit Hopcat in downtown Grand Rapids, MI!!

I brought my wife, father, and 5 friends to HopCat because I knew they have literally hundreds of beer available either on tap or in bottle and I would like to have dad/wife try things out to fine tune their beer tastes. As you walk in you can immediately feel the warm, professional atmosphere. Without even talking to someone, you know these people know what they're talking about. Which leads to the fact that it seems every single one of their staffers knows, in deep detail, about all of their beers. You ask what examples of any style they have on tap/bottle, they will name them without blinking. Not only that, the courteous service they provide is honestly second to none, that signature midwestern hospitality shows through. The crack fries must be sprinkled with it, and their humus was also the best i've had. The prices are spot on with the quality of beer they have.

If you're a homebrewer as well, they are more than happy to talk about brewing and what they're up to. Talking through brewing with them was another highlight of the night.

Also, to repeat a review before mine, a special shoutout to Steve - he was amazingly gracious, hospitable, and he is the perfect example of how personalized service really makes it no matter where you go.

My wife, dad and friends havent stopped raving about going to HopCat, and next time we are here in the area we will absolutely be going back. I havent been to the #1/2 beer bars in the world, but they really must be fantastic to top this.

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Photo of alrhodesjr
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Luckily, I have the privilege of living just a few miles from this beer Mecca. Once you walk in the door you feel like you have died and awoken in beer heaven. All the taps and different selections from the beer menu can be a bit overwhelming, but if you are lucky enough to have a bar seat the bartenders are more than willing to help you in you quest of beer. The only time when service isn't exceptional is when you would expect: night-time on the weekends. The bar is right night to most of the nightlife in GR. Prices are right around what I would have expected to pay for the variety of beers. I have not ate there but I hear from many people that the "crack fries" are unbelievable.

Also, you can get a growler to go, just in case you need to continue to celebrate at home.

In closing, if you are in the Grand Rapids area and are looking for a place to enjoy a good craft beer, or six, then this is your place.

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Photo of enfield249
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

What can I say? This is my watering hole. This is where I go to celebrate, and to welcome back old friends. The atmosphere is fine, if a little loud at times. I would prefer a quite place, but most people don't so that is fine. The quality of the beer has never been an issue, and is always fresh and ever changing. The service is without par in it's beer knowledge. The standard food is fine, mostly your average bar fare, and would have received a more moderate "3", but the beer dinner food is so good that it kicks it up a point. The price is reasonable for downtown GR. HopCat is everything it is reported to be and more. Worth a trip if you are in the midwest.

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

This place is amazing. We were driving from Chicago to Bellaire to check out Short's Brewing and decided that we must stop at one of the top BrewPubs in the nation and are glad we did.

Upon entering this place, we noticed a nice ambiance and quickly sat down at the bar. Staff was extremely friendly, large beer selection, love the fact that you can buy a growler of whatever is on draft, and STEVE is the BEST !!!

So let me talk about STEVE... My gf and I have been to many breweries/brewpubs and have had great times at those places, but Steve is by far one of the coolest/most informative/ hospitable person we've met.

Since he asked where we were from (CHICAGO !!!) we began talking shop and then hooked us up with all this information about Michigan Breweries and where we should go. This guy is amazing. Not only did he set us up with a lil' care package, he even let us try some of Short's vintage bottle of WoodMaster.

Thanks for the patches. We will see you later tonight !!!

Ray & Christine

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Photo of browna71
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5


Although that should suffice for a review, I suppose i could go into it a little deeper. Firstly, the atmosphere is incredibly warm, inviting and unique. One of the coolest looking bars I've had the pleasure of sitting at, the entire span of which is lined with about 40+ different taps which rotate almost daily. The staff has always been nothing but friendly and knowledgeable (not to mention they poured me and my friends and free bottle of a harder to find Belgian Kriek). The bottle selection is well over 200 bottles, comprised of mostly bombers of harder to find and foreign beers. As far as the food goes: crack fries, plain and simple. I have been to quite a few different brew pubs and beer bars, but none even come close to this place.

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Photo of beerguru15
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I recently went to Hop Cat right before heading to Van Andel for a concert

When walking into the brewpub you're presented with quite a few tables, the bar and in the distance the vats themselves. The place had a really great atmosphere, with the clientele ranging from younger college kids to older groups. Just the overall vibe you felt welcome and that it would be a great place to come and relax with friends.

the overall quality was good, for both the food and the beer. Which it almost had to have been for what you were paying for it which I'll mention at the end. Seemed like everyone was enjoying their meal and was top notched.

The service was pretty good, the girl waiting on us was attentive and friendly. It took a bit a times for her to come back to the table but it was busy so in a ways understandable.

The selection obviously was the high point of the pub and one of the main reasons why we stopped their first...I believe they have 49 beers on tap, with quite a wide selection to choose from. I ended up getting their Winter Warmer which wasn't bad, I choose that as I figured rather get something that they brew when you can get the rest anywhere else, but it definitely gives plenty of opportunities for the future to try and in a ways was overwhelming with so many options.

The food also was pretty good. There was a nice assortment of different items to choose from which ranged in prices and portions. I ended up getting a BBQ Chicken Sandwich which was quite tasty. Also as many others have mentioned the crack fries were pretty good too.

Food wise the place wasn't really that bad price wise, but beer it seemed like the cheapest one was 4.50 and quite a few were over 6. Though some were higher in alcohol, many were that price for a normal beer brewed in Michigan.

Overall an awesome place to go to and defiantly recommend in the Grand Rapids area...pretty much there's something for everyone and the selection is quite amazing. I'll defiantly be stopping in again!

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Photo of sprinkle
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Worldclass place, great selection, all top shelf liquors being poured, great pics all over, cysers, lambics, one offs...who could ask for more? Heard about the place for a couple years, then stopped in while we were in town, Corey even popped a hanssens Ouse kreik with us our first time in...will be back tomorrow and years to follow! This is an oasis on a very long drive, that I would go out of my way for. Good people, nice setting, top shelf beer, good food(italian beef, sloppy joeseph????)and libations. Stop by if you get a chance and if you don't, take some time and drive there!

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Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by here on my first brewery tour of michigan earlier this month. Hit founders first then walked over to Hopcat. I had read a lot of great things about this place and their amazing beer selection, I couldn't wait to check it out. Probably got there at around 7 on a Friday night and had to wait for a seat at the bar (not too long though). The place was jumping. Really good atmosphere. Good engergy in the place. I like that. I like when I go to a place and it feels like people are having a good time (if that makes any sense). My gf and I get a couple menus and are blown away by the selection of what is on tap. I decided to try short's smores stout and the gf a couple pumpkin ales. I regret to say I did not sample any of hopcats own brews but fully intend to on my next trip up. I also decided to order some crack fries that I have read about in reviews on yelp and such. Pretty good...but cheese and bacon make everything better. We hung out here for a little over an hour and had a great experience. Like I said, the place was jumping...but service was exceptional. Had multiple bartenders ask if everything was good, do we need anything, etc. My only regrets are not trying one of the in house beers and not sample more off of their draftlist. Overall, one of the better brewpubs I have ever visited. Will always go back if in grand rapids.

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Photo of otto251068
4.25/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Atmosphere: Hopcats is right in the middle of downtown Grand Rapids, so its space is fairly limited. The tables are really packed in there, and most of the time, so are the patrons. Always super busy, and I always feel surrounded. If you are claustrophobic, you might have a rough time. In terms of atmosphere, Hopcats doesn't have anything special.

Quality: Huge tap selection, which is always being changed, so I don't worry about the quality too often. They also have a ton of bottles for sale which they keep in storage in refrigerated cabinets. Everything looks to be in order. Big fan of all the glassware, every drink is served in the appropriate glass.

Service: Been here a couple dozen times, and the service is always hit and miss. At the bar, the tenders always make sure you have a drink in front of you. At a table, the waiters and waitresses seem to occasionally make a lap, but they never seem to be around when I need them. On the plus side, they know every beer on the menu, and are very helpful.

Selection: Huge. So many different styles and flavors from all over the world. Tons of locals, tons from all over the US. The menu is sorted by location, big fan. There are just so many beers here, I really can't say enough about it. Lots of great beers from Belgium.

Food: I don't come here for the food, but I have had it, and it is pretty good. Of course, the crack fries are insane, and they have a lot of great munchies that are perfect for snacking on when drinking great beer.

Value: Expensive, but of course it depends on what you buy. The Michigan locals are on the lower end, and some others are way more expensive. I stick to the lower end of the spectrum, but always finish with some higher price stuff.

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

Stopped here during a recent MI trip, after spending some time at Founders and New Holland.

Saturday night, busy, crowd seemed on the young (my age or so) side. Got seats at the bar after talking to a friendly local couple who were heading out soon. Thank you!

To the good stuff - though we had just missed the Barrel Aged event, there was still a good amount of stuff from it on the massive list. Didnt even make it to the bottles, but had: Shorts BA Black Sustenance, GI Imperial Goose, Oak- Aged Widdershins, and something else I cant recall. Everything served in appropriate glassware and good temps.

Food - we were just snacking and got some corn dogs and crack fries. CRACK FRIES. loved them, and the horseradish mustard dipping sauce that came with the corn dogs. ohmygod. I will crave these until my next trip to MI.

Service - I dont recall much but we got served rather quickly, everyone was friendly, and accurate. Nothing more to say but thank you!

Long story short, I got pretty tipsy (had a DD). Drank some fantastic beers, talked to many friendly patrons. Hands down one of if not the best beer bar I've ever been to. Will stop again for sure.

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Photo of wxgod
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Did a brewery tour of southern/western Michigan and, in between hitting Founders etc, had to make a stop at HopCat based on the stellar reviews from Beeradvocate. Have to say, the reviews were right on. Stellar selection of brews, with lots of local represenation. Good, because that is what we were there for...try the stuff we can't get at home. Service was great and Tyler (our server) was very helpful and attentive, but didn't hover. Definitely a place worth any beer lovers' time. It was packed on a Saturday evening, but that was to be expected.

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Photo of RockerD
4.7/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What a cool place. Finally got to go last night. Nice location right downtown. Place was jam packed with 20 somethings. I felt a tad old at a meager 34 years old. Very large bar area where there are different tap stations. Amazing local Michigan beer tap selection. No Michigan brewery is snubbed here. It seemed that 60% of their taps were local. The decor is great, lots of stuff to look at.

We had the pretzel as an appetizer which was very good. It came with a white liquid cheese and horseradish mustard. For dinner we had the veggie burrito which was amazing and I highly recommend it!

Got a personal tour from C.B.G.- Steve Smith which made the experience that much greater. This is a must destination for any beer connoisseur!!

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Photo of waldoiverson
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The venue is conveniently placed downtown and the size is substantial compared to most beer bars. The tap selection was well curated but I wish there would have been some more cask pulls on sample. I particularly liked the local selection. Food was pretty standard pub fare but well done. Service was good but not overly attentive or proactive. I would love to try it again on a busy night to see how the vibe stacked up. All in all, highly recommended for the tap selection and thoughtful bottle options.

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