Ratings: 288 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
4.94/5 rDev +7.9%
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.
12-28-2008 17:19:00 | More by shivtim
4.3/5 rDev -6.1%
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.
03-14-2011 14:10:52 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.74/5 rDev +3.5%
I remember this place being the Sierra Room, a wine joint. What an improvement this place has become. Too bad this wasn't around when I actually lived near GR.
Nice woody interior, like many downtown GR bars. Place for a band near the entrance windows. Porch outside is nice, for 4 months of the year. Upstairs smoking lounge is a real nice touch and does seem to keep the smoke out of the rest of the establishment.
Definetely have not seen a better beer selection, a few maybe equal, but none better. Good selection and variety and plenty of local brews. Shorts being the treat for me. The Hopcat brand stout was not bad either, just not quite as good as the Chocolate Wheat from Shorts. Vintage stuff seemed a bit pricey, but I've never understood the "cost" of keeping something in a cellar. For a restaurant I suppose there could be some, but the basement is there whether they use it or not, it's not like it is an extra cost. Anyways, this is far and away the best place to stop in GR. If you don't want to come downtown, try Logans Alley or Graydons, but you might as well come the rest of the way.
Another kudos, Hopcat was kind enough to politely explain the cost for a business to keep a cellar, which makes absolute sense in that it ties up money. I was more caught up in some BA's thinking their $15 dollar beer is now worth 2 of my $10 beers because you kept it in your basement, but I digress.
05-15-2009 02:04:00 | More by Bung
4.46/5 rDev -2.6%
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 there 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.
06-21-2012 16:28:43 | More by mynie
4.6/5 rDev +0.4%
Being from the U.P. of Michigan, HopCat has been nothing but a mystical beast for me. 460 miles away, there is no way I could travel there to enjoy all it's splendor, and make it home safely, right? Well, I just happened to be passing by, so enjoy I did!
HopCat has a really great corner location right in downtown GR (which is booming with youth, Michigan's light right now). Parking can be a bit tricky, just bite the bullet and park in the nearby parking garage. It's only a short two block walk to your every wish and joy.
The beer menu is vast. I hardly even looked at the bottle list, but most of the premium bottles were in front of my in their large "beer to go" cooler, so I checked it out. Impressive. A good mix of great beers from around the U.S., some really nice Belgian treats, and the who's who of Michigan barley pops.
The tap list is incredible though. I missed the remnants of the Wood and Wild Ale festival a few weeks early, but the tap list was still very impressive. Since this was my first time visiting, I had to try a house brew, the Frontiersmen. It was an interesting American Wild Ale aged in Cedar (which always blows my mind, being a whisky guy, cedar is a huge NO NO). Beer was pretty tasty. Nice funky notes, not too sour, but good depth of flavor, and the cedar really supported what was going on.
Food was good, atmosphere was upbeat with young business people from the local community. Great stop. I will be stopping again next time I pass through. It surely lived up to all the hype I had heard.
12-20-2011 15:38:38 | More by MarcatGSB
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.