1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.81/5
Based on:
36 Beers
201 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 336
Reviews: 198
rAvg: 4.57
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

Notes:
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 198
Photo of yankeej13
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
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!

Photo of shivtim
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of JToad
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My girlfriend surprised me with a trip to Grand Rapids based solely on HopCat for Valentines Day.

The place is simply amazing. 48 drafts of some great rare brews, and bottle list that is outstanding! The place was packed, the only available seats were upstairs in the loft, but the bartenders were very attentive and prompt. I was fortunate to get great treatment from Steve their chief beer guy. After introducing myself (as i was told to do by Mark, the owner via a previous beermail conversation) the rest of the night was incredible. I started with a Bells Batch 9000, moving on to a Shorts PB &J and then an 06 Stone Double Bastard. For dinner I had the shredded Pork Sandwich and Crack Fries and an order of the Beer Cheese for an app. Food was simply fantastic. My GF had the chicken salad wrap and was in heaven.

Steve took care of us all night, then gave us a private tour of the inner workings of the HopCat. Got to see the bottle cooler, and the three of us broke open a bottle of the Old Rasputin 12.

Ive never had this good of an experience at a bar in my life. It's so nice to have a place so passionate and knowledgeable about great beer. The food was great and the prices were very reasonable. Many thanks to Mark and Steve and the rest of the HopCat crew.

I am proudly wearing my HopCat tshirt! Thanks Steve

Photo of alexgash
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Made the pilgrimage from Ann Arbor for the BA Pre-Opening Party. And wow am I ever glad I did! Since the party was a special event with a special crowd and very special specials (half off all beer!) I am reviewing this place based on what I would expect to be a regular night with full prices.

The atmosphere was incredible. Spacious with tall ceilings, big windows, rustic brick, great art/decor, and just a great overall feel to the place. Oh, and the centerpiece is the big, beautiful bar with its properly-tap handled tap fountains and cathedral-like backing (worth the trip just to see this alone!). No smoking on the main floor with a small, cozy smoker's lounge upstairs. Service was great, especially considering how new the place is and how busy it was. The menus are thorough and descriptive and there were plenty of them.

The quality and selection were top-notch with 48 taps (not a single crap-tap) and 150+ bottles and one hand-pump. Good local representation (which allowed me to try The Hideout's and The Livery's fine offerings for the first time). Clean and appropriate glassware was provided with each beer (tulips, imperial pints, and over-sized wine glasses). The food was terrific too. The fries were very addicting and the pita/veggie spread was great to snack on with our bottles of Three Philosophers and Old Ruffian. Reasonably priced too! This is a destination beer bar and I can't wait to go back!

Photo of Tetano
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

What can I say, this past Sunday I had the pleasure of ponying up to the bar at HopCat for the first time, and all I can say is wow. Everything I have read on this site, which lead to some extreme expectations, were met and exceeded. The selections of beer was fantastic and varied. Chocolate Wheat, several sours, IPA's, milk stout, Belgians, and various others were there to tempt your palette.

I ordered a German breakfast which was fitting and interesting. The bar tender was incredible, her knowledge of the beers was impressive. Thanks again Katie, you are fantastic! She is a real testament to their establishment and her craft.

The real highlight of the visit was meeting the owners and the beer purchaser. We got to go into the basement and take a look at the keg room and the bottle room. Each stop was a highlight and a real treat. I have never felt more undeserving, they went all out. I am humbled.

If you have ever have the opportunity to visit Grand Rapids, this is the place to stop and check out. You walk into what felt like a neighborhood Brew Pub prior to Prohibition. Large comfortable bar stools await you at the bar where vintage cooper clad tap towers studded with a wide variety of suds call to be sampled. I can sum up my visit with this, I am in love.

Photo of Molly
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Made the trip across the state to hit the Michigan Winter Beer Fest, needed a place to go for some food and beer. Stopped into Hopcat by suggestion from a friend.

Walked in on Friday to a mess. Place was swamped, there was no host type anywhere, and little direction as to how to get a table. I was lucky enough to poach some stools at the end of the bar. WTF, 49 taps?

Despite the fact the bar was three deep, we were greeted immediately presented with a large menu of the taps, happy to see that most of them were Michigan brews from all over the state. Equally impressive was the bottle list.

Service - impeccable. The bartenders were on top of getting us another pint every time, but not intrusive. Knowledgeable, recommended some great beers we've never had. They all seemed like they truly were enjoying what they were doing, which was a large part of the atmosphere.

Food - very good. We had the "crack fries" with some soft cheese dip. Extra heavily seasoned, plus a touch of something sweet, a great match for the big beers we were having at the time. Followed up with Mac and Cheese that we added Chorizo and Jalapenos to. Yum.

We only had 1 house brew, and it went over well, but with so many really good beers to choose from...

Being Beerfest weekend, the place was full of beer nerds and brewers, which means the atmosphere was great. Jukebox was marked out of order, but we heard a couple of killer songs anyways.

Actually, we liked it so much there we headed back the very next day and did it all over again. No regrets, the experience was just as good.

The owners of this place should be proud.

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is the best bar I have ever been to in my life hands down! And the crazy thing is I went for lunch on a Wednesday!

On a recent trip to MI I thought "what the hell" and emailed HopCat not really expecting a response. I got a reply from the owner with some recommedations and welcoming me and my friends to come by. I arrived with my girl about a half hour or so after they opened and it was already starting to fill. We took a seat at the bar and started looking over the huge beer list. I asked if the owner who I had emailed was there and the bartender pointed out he was sitting right next to me. I introduced myself and he even gave my girl (after she commented on how muhc she liked the ladies room) a personal tour of the mens room as he was particularly proud of it. Very classy guy I must say.

I ordered a Shorts Huma Lupa Licious and my girl got a Shorts Nicie Spicie. We split a buffalo chicken sandwhich which came with some of the "crackfries" and it was great. The fries were so good it wasnt till I was finished that I noticed I didnt even use ketchup and I always have ketchup with fries. My friend got their mac'n'cheese which was also great. The food was very good and reasonable. Then we had another employee introduce himself (I forgot his name though) as he heard we were from Vegas. He told us about this great place to eat out here that we didnt even know about. The staff we encountered were all terriffic. We kinda felt like VIP's.

Either way this place was amazing. They didnt have any of their house brews on tap yet but they didnt need any. The beer menu, both bottles and draft, was amazing. I loved my Shorts and even got a complimentary sample of Great Lakes Blackout Stout (on nitro!). I wish we could have stayed all day but only had time for lunch as we were passing through town. It was a great time and a beautiful place. Good ambience, beer, food, and staff. You CANNOT go wrong with this place!

Photo of moshea
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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.

Photo of Stonebreaker
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

In the interest of full disclosure the owner of this joint Mark sent me a beer mail after reading one of my posts saying that I was planning on attending his spot on my birthday and set me up with a free pint. Kudos to you Mark. That said, it seems to be a perfectly fair and smart thing to do and is certainly good business strategy. Let me say first that this place is beer nerd heaven....pause for dramatic effect... period! When we arrived, we were hungry and it did not disappoint, I had a house beer cheese w/applewood smoked bacon burger. I'd have to give my meal an A although the crack fries, were a little heavy on the onion powder for my taste(but my wife loved them), my wife had the macaroni which we had heard people raving about, but hers, all false humility aside, should be paying my rent right now so it didn't impress as much. My server, Emily, humbled this beer nerd in training with her knowledge of the sweet nectar and reccomended me a spiced belgian white that I'll never forget and search out forevermore, it was in some weird display of anti-snobbishness? referred to as mannequin piss? Thank you Emily and Mark for an experience that made the long drive from Chicago more than worthwhile. This is the type of place I aspire to having one day. Beer nerds everywhere should make the hajj to this place, it was made for you. Highly reccomended.

Photo of redmount23
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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

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

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

Photo of Winston3737
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Baileyuk
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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.

Photo of JordanEllwanger
5/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

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.

Photo of nikolep
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of SteveDoeschot
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Pudge43
5/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of Jyoungquist
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of adamette
5/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Based on a visit there 10 18 09 at its noon opening time. This is the limited note that I took at the time: World class environment, people, very good food, cellar with bottles with emphasis on craft, imports, Spoke with Timm Merill, the Chancelor of HopCat. The rest of my comments are from my memory which is still very clear to me.

Atmosphere I cannot recommend an improvement. Long bar on the right as you enter and seating for probably 200 in a modern but very comfortable jazz era high ceiling downtown feel of a place. Bar stools were particularly large (I like that!) and tap and bar fixtures were appropriate dark, heavy metal, etc. There was good inclusion of the HopCat signage but it was not overwhelming. There were lots of posters advertising beer but, also, as I recall, other forms of alcohol. Everything was class in this place. Oh, Timm brought my wife and I down to the cellar during our visit too. Man that was cool to see the kegs, actively connected to the bar above, in action. I even saw that a few of the kegs had "for HopCat" written on them, probably by brewery staff. So the upstairs was all class and the cellar was like a dream. 5.0

Quality The highest. HopCat has ultimate respect for beer. This is not limited to simply the selection, which is world class, but in how it is presented.

Service Really nice. Our bartender was patient, informative and when she had the time (early in our visit...it really hopped after about 1 pm) was talkative and interactive. Of course being taken down to the Cellar was an unexpected plus as well.

Selection This cannot be improved in my opinion. The best part of the selection was the beers that HopCat brewed themselves. I had the sublime Pel Kwint and Kwin Tel and a third HopCat selection that I cannot recall at this time. At least the Pel Kwint surpassed any of the guest beers that they had on tap and that is saying something since that day I also had: Chocolate Starfish, Sorachi Ace, Final Absolution Dragonmead, Shorts Huma Lupa Licious, Bacchus Flemish Red Ale, Shorts Black Cherry Porter and Shorts Soft Parade. 5.0

Food Did not have any food. That is too bad because everything looked like it was probably excellent. We had just gone to the Omelet Factory in Grand Rapids that morning for breakfast.

Value Very good I thought but probably just reasonable (I was so giddy about being in the place that I thought any price would be too low).

Photo of bigfurrynutz
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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!!

Photo of Thereformedtheo
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of vtisme
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.
-vt

Photo of Urbancaver
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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

Photo of Pklimas
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of canti1pd
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of kevinlater
5/5  rDev +9.4%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.