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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 kbutler1
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Been here a couple times while in Grand Rapids. Just an outstanding bar to stop in and grab a beer and food at. Huge selection of beers on tap and bottle. The bar is very expansive and the bartenders were more than friendly. The food was pretty good as well (the crack fries are truly exceptional). The staff was friendly. Busy place though so be prepared to wait for a table or hang out at the bar. At night this place really gets packed both on the main level and the upstairs balcony. Truly a destination if you are in the area. Nice that it is within walking distance to or from Founders as well.

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Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

My first stop in Grand Rapids had to be HopCat. It is a good craft beer bar, possibly great craft beer bar, but top 3 in the world? Just do not know about that. No trouble getting a spot at the bar on a weekday evening. Probably half full as the numbers ebbed and flowed as time passed. The atmosphere was good but there were a few drunks and douchebags making noise as well as giving me the evil eye. Service was prompt and friendly. I must of been a friendly face as I kept getting the free mispours. Most of the staff is well inked and pierced. The staff is hard on glassware as I lost count of the number of broken glasses after 90 minutes. The selection is great well weighted for the hop heads, at least during my visit. I did not come close to trying everything I wanted to try during my visit. I did notice with a tap lineup as large as this, many people had a hard time deciding. Maybe too much of a good thing. The food was good but nothing I would go out of my way for.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

--My review from Yelp.--

I hadn't known about HopCat until revving up BeerAdvocate soon after I turned 21 and learned that it was apparently one of the very best craft beer bars in the country. Logically, I had to stop by when I went on a mini-trip to Grand Rapids the day after Christmas. As it turned out, it was the first of many great after-Christmas presents.

We came in at about 12:45 on a Thursday -- the day after Christmas -- and were happy to see that there wasn't a wait. The area of HopCat itself is mostly quite narrow with a brewing area in the back. Incidentally, I didn't know they brewed their own beer until a week or two ago.

We all (my sister, dad, and I) all decided to start out with their house beers (which I took a picture of). From what I understand, they rotate a decent bit, but I was pretty shocked that they didn't have a single stout or porter on-tap, considering it's late December. Overall, their beer is pretty good, and better than I had expected, but it's certainly no Founders. For what it's worth, I do enjoy their brews more than their neighbor, Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

For lunch, I got the Spicy Pulled Pork sandwich just because I hadn't had pork for awhile, and read a few positive things about it... I'm sure a bit of beer on an empty stomach helped a bit, but it was truthfully one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I've had. It wasn't smothered in BBQ sauce so as to mask the pork, the choice of brioche for a bun was a nice choice, and there was a nice but not too spicy kick as well. I felt like the slice of Swiss was a bit unnecessary considering it got masked quite a lot by the pork and BBQ sauce, but it certainly didn't ruin it. A tasty, well-made sandwich. Their Crack Fries are also pretty outstanding -- think of them as Rally's/Checkers fries, with less grease, salt, and heartburn. They're pretty peppery and have a very nice flavor to them. I wouldn't quite label them as the "BEST FRIES EVER", but there's no doubting that they're damn outstanding.

My sister chose the mushroom black bean burrito wrap, which was a pretty hefty portion. She said it was good, and ate most of it. I didn't taste it, but it certainly smelled damn good. My dad got the porter braised beef -- he enjoyed it, and I didn't hate it, but we both definitely agreed that the pulled pork was much better.

I was sort of hesitant to give HopCat a 5/5 rating because it took about 45 minutes to get our food in a not-all-that-full restaurant, but it was a good time, for sure. The 2-5pm Happy Hour Michigan Beer special (all beers brewed in Michigan that are $8 and lower are $3) was a great deal as well. Some of the beer prices seem a tad bit high, though. For instance, twelve bucks for 10oz of Ten Fidy? It's a very good beer with a pretty large ABV, but that pricing is waaay off the mark.

As a whole, HopCat is a place I'd recommend to anybody visiting Grand Rapids.

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Photo of emerge077
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This was easily the highlight of a recent Michigan trip.

The place exuded an effortless cool, a combination of the turn of the century exterior, Art Deco & Folies Bergère posters framed on the ceiling, with the imagery incorporated elsewhere in the decor. Some nice paintings of 20th century jazz greats hung on brick walls in between art deco lanterns, hanging above intimate circular booths. Many tables, with a patio containing comfy sofas and furniture too. Brewing equipment was visible in the rear of the space. Multiple tap islands at the bar, maybe 6-8 per. I noticed the brand new Ommegang Rouge barrel-shaped handle, and ordered it first thing.

Once seated we ordered a round and had a couple appetizers. The food was good, "crack fries" were just ok in my opinion. It was busy, so it took a minute for initial service, but we were taken care of afterward.

Selection was really amazing for MI brews, there were 5 taps from Short's (it was a special of the month) and 5 from Kuhnhenn. Several from Arbor, Founders, and a few more obscure brewers too. Prices, style, and ABV were listed on the menu, also a plus. This place was worth the detour off 94.

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Photo of DukeKensington
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

The selection at this place is pretty fantastic, but on the whole I think it's just a bit too small for my liking. It's not a problem if you can hit it up earlier in the day, or avoid weekends entirely, but that's a little tricky. So on most of the occasions I've visited, it's been at capacity, and it's been very loud. I prefer a slightly quieter atmosphere for my drinking.

Still, I have to give them adequate respect for their incredible selection and service. Even when crowded, the waiters/waitresses got around to our table fast, and got us our beer quickly as well. And the beer menu was like a holy text in my eyes. Always great to see that many great options available to me (even if many were a bit too rich for my blood). I've had some great beers everytime I've been there.

I've only ever had some fries here so I can't really speak to the quality of the food.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of nflmvp
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've only had the pleasure of stopping into Hop Cat, once. But it was quite a pleasure.

The atmosphere is fairly typical of this kind of place. It's nice but not much different than most other top notch beer bars. I can't deduct any points here but I can't hardly add them either. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I've scored it accordingly.

Quality is top notch. They do a great job of making sure there are plenty of great beers for everyone's taste. High marks, here!

Service was good but the place was pretty busy. If I could experience this place with a lighter crowd, I might up the score on service. All things considered, I think the bartenders and wait staff did a good job taking care of us.

Selection was awesome. I don't hand out fives for almost anything but if anything deserves a 5, it's the selection of brews at Hop Cat.

I just had a sandwich but it was good. However, I need more than a sandwich to really tell what I think of their food. I'll try to order something a little more substantial the next time, to see if I can upgrade that score a bit.

Value is about what you'd expect.

I look forward to stopping into Hop Cat again, very soon.

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Photo of david131
4.43/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of mrs_bretina
4.43/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

WOW! We are so fortunate to have this bar just a few minutes from our home! We frequent this fairly often, but aren't quite "regulars". This space was originally a grocery store with very high ceilings, tin/wood ceiling, and a beautiful wood bar. Hopcat does brew its own beer, but its real claim to fame, in my opinion, is the amazing beer selection that they constantly rotate through their menu. Some draft, some bottled, always served in the best glass for the style of beer. If you see something on tap that you want - be sure to get it while you can, because the next time you're there - it may not be available.

I love that they have special events to showcase beers that are extremely limited in the United States. The only downside is - you'll never taste that beer again. BUT - what an opportunity to taste the amazing craft brews from around the world as well as the neighborhood.

They have a great bar food menu and if the name doesn't get you - the taste sure will - especially for the crack fries - they're just that addictive!

For anyone who loves craft beer and is in Grand Rapids, be sure to stop in!

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Photo of dutch05
4.43/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

As the first one in the door for the BA preopening party, We got a table across from the bar.

Great atmosphere, our server was very helpful in making our selections, a couple bugs in the computer system, beers not inputted, but nothing serious, that's what a preopening is for right?

Nice selection of beer, if you can't find one you like here I don't know where the heck you would go! Great variety on tap, but the bottle list was incomplete, should be ready for the Grand Opening on Saturday.

Didn't have the Scotch list available, but from what I saw on the shelf it should be a nice selection also. From the peaty to the smooth, another "something for everyone" selection.
The music was not too loud, nice to have it be in the background and not overwhelming for a change.

Two tv's over the bar, and one giant screen available in front for special occasions.

Really nice that the smoking section is in the loft, it didn't reach the main bar area at all. I am assuming that a outdoor area will be available in nicer weather, there is a covering outside the building that is fenced in.

All in all, a great addition to the downtown area, I am not a downtown type person, but I think this will change now.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.43/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

great place and great location. The corner lot with large store front windows makes for a nice atmosphere. Also the patio in the summer is rather nice, a little small, but none-the-less a great asset. The interior is great exposed brick wall, deep rich colors, and great bar set-up. I like the gothic arched mirrors behind the bar!

Always plenty to drink and a variety beyond reckoning. Some of the staff seems to lack in the beer connoisseur department, but for the most part are knowledgeable. You can find anything from domestics, micro-brews, internationals and everything between.

Food is good and falls within the standard pub-like menu with a few nice variation/alterations. I had a hot warm pretzel with a spicy mustard sauce that was banging and complimented my Short's "huma lupa licious."

I believe this to be the best bar in downtown GR! If you are in the area you must go and kick your feet up

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

This bar, in the shadow of the sports arena was a godsend to a Chicagoan on a road trip.

Their tap selection of craft beers is phenomenal, and the best part is, you can take home growlers of anything on tap. I took home Short's Huma Lupa Licious and SoftParade.

I ordered the cheeseburger with bacon and jalapenos which was quite tasty but their fries are definitely addictive with a tangy seasoning and i think, some subtle garlic lime salt. Yum.

If I didn't live in Chicago, I'd be coming to this place quite often.

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

This place was very cool and I was very happy I made the stop here. The atmosphere was great, especialy since the main area is non-smoking, really allows you to enjoy your beer. The place was packed when I was there. Service was pretty good, and their selection was awesome, at least compared to what I'm used to. I believe they have around 50 drafts and 150 bottles if I remember right. Food wasn't bad, a little pricey however. There beer though was a lot cheaper than I thougth it would be. Overall, an excellent establishment and a definite recommendation to anyone.

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

Hopcat is a must goto stop if you are in Grand Rapids. They have a huge and great beer list. When we were there, they had Kuhnhenn Imperial Creme Brûlée and All Hallows Ale on tap as well as Shorts Black Cherry Porter.

The food was solid bar food. The ice cream sandwich, which changes every so often, was amazing! The cookies are super thick and the ice cream is nice and creamy. They had a mexican hot chocolate one when we were there that had a spicy bite.

Service was good enough but nothing to write home about.

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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 mynie
4.46/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I had no idea Grand Rapids was so big: The CSA has about a million and a half people, making it just a tick small than Indianapolis. Shouldn't they have a sports team or something? I'm sure Western Michigan is a fine institution, but their football team isn't FBS and therefore their school doesn't count as being real.

The downtown area is weird. It is large, it is filled with people and things, but because of arbitrary cultural prejudices, it also feels illegitimate. There's no Wrigley Field moment, where the first time you see a Grand Rapids landmark you go "whoa, there's X!" So even though I'd heard of Hopcat, I nearly walked right past it when I saw it.

Likewise, I was not immediately impressed with the place, even though I should have been. The bar stretched on forever, and there were literally a billion taps (my math might be off here).

We sat down and were handed laminated beer menus. My companion is new to the beer travelin' scene so I explained to her how these menus ain't always the best thing, since they get so quickly out of date. Then she goes "that's probably why they have that," and pointed toward a kickass chalkboard that had two columns on it. One column said "RUNNING OUT." The other "WILL BE REPLACED BY." That's awesome, and it made me start paying attention.

The menu was organized by style, not by brand or in alphabetical order. A pithy description of each beer was given, including style, ABV, IBU, and a line or two listing off its more salient characteristics. A list like that takes time to make.

The taps included a wide range of locals, midwestern/great lakes staples, interesting Belgian and Scandinavian imports, and a hearty selection of rares and one-offs from all around the globe. There was a beer for every mood and all of its was good.

The vibe was friendly, but a little Grand Rapidsy. I don't know how to describe it: we were certainly welcomed, but I couldn't figure out the pulse of the place well enough to really ingratiate myself into it. Still, the crowd was older and polite--there were no undergrads, no people in business suits, and no screaming drunkards. That's pretty good.

A definite must-stop.

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

Been here many times, but never got around to reviewing it on here.
On the outside, its really not much to look at, but once you step in, you know you are in the right place. Not a huge place, but has a cozy and chill atmosphere with scattered tables and a rather nice looking bar.
This day in particular I went for dinner and had their Cheddar Ale Soup which almost made me cry it was so good. I will come back again again just for that soup, but at the same time, this place is really about the beer. Great selection both bottles and on-tap. You can always count on them having something really special on a regular basis.
A superb place that is an absolute necessary visit whenever I am in Grand Rapids.

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

Great looking room, large, high ceilings, huge windows looking out onto the active GR night life scene. Large bar area, all the beers on a large chalk board. 40 or so taps, great selection of multiple Michigan selections and all star choices from around the world. They are starting up their own brewery in the rear of the place and the fermenters were on display. Outside seating area. Beers served in appropriate glassware. Beer obviously being respected here. Pleasurable place for a visit, I'd be here often if I was local. (About 10 minutes drive to Sicicliano market and 3-5 mins from Founders)

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here post-KBS release party. About a five minute walk from Founders.

After Founders, this place was packed also. A decent sized bar with lots of brass tap towers displaying all the tap markers. Plenty of woodwork and the place is spotless. Lots of seating (for a smallish bar), and a small area up stairs has more. A brew house sits out back, and they had a few of thier own brews on tap. I had the Belgian Dubble which was damn tasty.
Selection is regional heavy (almost exclusive). Dark Horse, Shorts, Arcadia, Livery, Atwater, Founders, Arbor, Bells, etc. A great line up with Belgians, IPAs, Stouts, and odd balls thrown in.

Service was decent, as I was able to get a beer at the bar as soon as I was able to catch the eye of a bartender.

I didn't try any food, and I don't know if they even serve it. There was no place to sit so I scooted after one. I could definately see spending some serious time here though.

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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 BoyDrinksWorld
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

HopCat is my favorite brewpub and they have fantastic food to match their impressive beer list. Crack fries are a must, but you cannot miss on this menu - I personally recommend the Sloppy Joe's. Best place to be to enjoy a worldwide variety of beer in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of coldriver
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

We visited the night of June 24th after an easy walk over from Founder's. The first thing I noticed about this place was the great Hopcat sign over the door of their "black cat holding a beer" logo - it's really fits the vibe of this place. The Interior has beautiful classy woodwork and the vibe is relaxed and "right". It's classy without being pretentious. Being from Texas and not having much experience with what is considered rare in Michigan I can't honestly say how unique their taplist is, but I can say that after giving my bartender my style preferences that his recommendations hit it perfectly. I did not have any food but it certainly looked good. Prices are reasonable.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

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