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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

297 Ratings
Ratings: 297
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 46
Beer Ratings: 273
Beer Avg: 3.81
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:
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 added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 297 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopsMatt
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%

I recently stopped here while in Grand Rapids on a brewery tour. Our last stop was Founders, and although the food was great, the selection that was on tap was just so-so and the crowd and horrible band just killed it for us. Coming off of that negative experience, we decided to walk the three blocks to HopCat as I had been pointed to by other BA members. Man am I glad we did!

Our wait time was only about 15 minutes, and on a Saturday night! The bar is spacious enough and very comfortable. We were seated at the corner booth back by the jukebox. I cant remember the name of the waitress but she was the best! I really wish I could remember her name so I could give her props! Never had an empty glass and always helped us pick out our next bottle to open up!

We ended up spending probably over two hours there. The music was really good. It was as if they tapped into my ipod. We made our way through some Aww Jeah, Black Cherry Porter, Freedom of '78, other various stouts and a bottle of B. Nektar Cherry Chipotle. We also had a few house brews. We didnt have any food as we had filled ourselves up earlier, but we were thinking hard about some of those crack fries!

I honestly cant wait to go back up to Grand Rapids so that we can stop by HopCat. Out of all the breweries we visited and all the places we went, this was our favorite and for me personally, held the most memorable part of the trip. I will return.

HopsMatt, May 26, 2012
Photo of gradergator
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

gradergator, May 11, 2014
Photo of sloppymoose
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%

This place is great. Let me start with the negative. Some of the individual bottles are extremely pricey. more than double the cost of what you can get at a beer store around town. The price is really the only negative. atmosphere is very cozy and the outside patio is outstanding. they have plush couches. they have 5 or so shorts beers on tap which is the most i've seen anywhere besides the brewery. michigan beers are very well represented here. the service was great, barely had to wait, and the selection was, as rated, world class. only selection complaint i have is that there's only one firkin/cask. for an establishment of this caliber, an additional cask is a must. other than that, you must go if you have enough money.

sloppymoose, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of Ktown67
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%

Great beer bar. I was in town with some friends for Founders KBS Release Party and we decided to stop at the Hopcat for a beer and ended up staying for a session (6 hours).

Garry (GM) and his bartenders are very knowledgable and great hosts. The tap beer selection is nice (20+ of the 48 taps are MI brews) and the bottle book has some gems. I think I tried just about every Jolly Pumpkin they had. They brew their own beer and it too was solid. especially seeing they had only been brewing for a month or so.

A must stop for any beer lover traveling through Michigan.

Ktown67, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of TCgoalie
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%

I frequent this place from time to time when in need of a good beer night out. The selection of beer is excellent and I've never had a problem with the service. If you are looking for a bite to eat, I recommend the macaroni and cheese...add some chicken and jalapenos and you will be happy!
One of the greatest features at HopCat is the reasonable pricing of local beers. If you are on a budget crunch, you can always count on getting a quality Michigan brew for not a lot of coin.
During local playoffs, you may be lucky enough to view your favorite team on a screen the size of a small house.

TCgoalie, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of chuckv
4.5/5  rDev -2%

chuckv, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of schnjac
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

schnjac, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of BigTuna1066
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

BigTuna1066, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of FURIOGUINTA
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%

what a great looking corner bar. it's only two minute drive from Founder's. i was impressed with the decor, upon entering the door. my friends and i bellied right up to the bar and looked over the impressive beer list. what a great collection of Michigan brews, including Short's, which was fantastic. i was in town to hit a few spots and catch a Mustard Plug concert. as i sat and enjoyed a couple pints, the guys from Mustard Plug (local ska-punk heroes) came in and went to a private drinking area. if local celebrities hang here, it must be good, right? ;) (of all the places in town to hit, i managed a second visit after the show.) i met and spoke with one of the owners, Michele. we had a great chat about FFF (as i was sporting one of their shirts) and she recommended The Hideout to me. she was awesome! service was fine, if a bit inattentive. i can overlook that being that it was a Friday and business was booming. i will definitely be back and plan on trying the food, as what i saw others eating looked fantastic. i will also be prepared with a cooler so i can take a few growlers to go. if you are anywhere near Grand Rapids you owe it to yourself to visit this place!

FURIOGUINTA, May 20, 2008
Photo of rixport
3.45/5  rDev -24.8%

Went in with some friends from Grand Rapids while I was home on vacation. I was very interested in going to the number 3 rated beer bar as I'm a regular customer at the number 1 rated. The selection of beer was very good, but nothing really unusual. A lot of local and regional micros on tap. After fairly good service from our bartender for the first round, we all ordered a 2nd round. My friend Rick and I both got a Weissbier. Mine smelled like a swimming pool, Ricks smelled like a Weissbier. After waiting for our bartender to quit chatting it up with his friends, I finally gave up. By that time, we decided to go over to Founders which we should have done in the first place. My numbers are going to indicate a better score than I would give this pub, but I feel my responses are accurate.

rixport, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of regeimbk
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

Had an odd run-in here with a homeless man who asked me and my girlfriend if we wanted to be in his movie and sat on top of our stuff so he could sit in our booth. However, as soon as customers complained, the man was kicked out.

The food here really is good. I've never had any complaints about it. The fish and chips is delish. Burgers are awesome. Steak is yummy. They have "crack fries" which I wouldn't call addictive, but they are good, especially when dipped in their cheese sauce. Whoever is cooking back there is doing their job.

Beer selection is awesome--duh.

Can be hard to find a table in there some nights, especially in the winter when their outdoor patio isn't open. When we were there, there wasn't a bike rack (not sure if there is one now), so we chained our bikes to a street sign. When we were getting ready to leave, a cop car pulled up beside our bikes and sat there for what felt like fifteen minutes. We had heard stories of cops ticketing bikers for locking their bikes to signs so we had to wait it out. Then we crunk road it.

regeimbk, May 03, 2009
Photo of atpben
5/5  rDev +8.9%

This place came highly recommended by my friends and on the BA forums. I gotta say off the bat. This is the best beer bar I have ever been to. Great atmosphere as soon as you enter the establishment. High ceilings with lots of sitting room inside and outside. There is a great smoking lounge upstairs wich I loved since I do smoke occasionaly. And of course the selection was awesome. All the great Michigan beers were respresented quite well there. I first had the Reissdorf kolsch which was on tap. I had the pleaser of meeting and speaking with Garry Boyd - Ringleader. Great guy and he was nice enough to share some bottles from the inside with me. The Stone-Nogne O collaboration beer and two other beers from Dieu Du Ciel both excellent. I had a great time there. I would also like to thank Brett the brewer, Corey our bartneder and Mark the owner. Great bunch of guys and they better believe it that I will be back next time I'm in GRR. And I would definately will be telling all my friends about it. A+ all way.

atpben, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of RockerD
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

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!!

RockerD, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of b3shine
5/5  rDev +8.9%

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!

b3shine, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of Labonix
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

Labonix, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of kylelenk
2.83/5  rDev -38.3%

Residing in GR I am fortunate to be able to frequent HopCat quite often. Being a regular, I've come to realize there is much needed for the bar to live up to it's reputation.

Atmosphere is decent but is always overcrowded. You're giving a multitude of different seating arrangements which can be either booths, couches (upstairs), picnic tables, or traditional seating. The bar looks quite dusty but my recommendation is to always sit at the bar...no matter what...as the bartenders are the only experienced staff in the establishment.

The service is obviously the Achille's Heel as the waitstaff are undertrained and unbelievably slow. I've walked in at 12:30AM with almost nobody in the bar and it has taken more than 15 minutes for a waitstaff member to come over. Additionally, I've had waitstaff confuse nitro beers with firkins...not something to expect with being named the 3rd best beer bar in the world.

HopCat has an outstanding collection if you're from out of town but often seems to cycle through beers if you're familiar enough with the establishment. Their bottle selection is quite a gem as they don't distribute menus unless you request. I was able to find some Mikeller even though it has sense stopped being distributed in the GR area.

People may rave about the Crack Fries, which are amazing, but the burgers seem to be quite generic (Sysco). Stella's across the street has hand formed burgers that come stuffed at the same price point...which is embarrassing concerning both restaurants share the same ownership.

I will say that HopCat throws some awesome parties. Their Wood and Wild Ale Fest last year brought some true whales to tap. Additionally, they throw parties when breweries enter the distro market and offer a chance to find some rarer beers.

Value is reasonable. Their specials often carry unreasonable stipulations like the $6 burger and beer combo being limited (last time) to a New Holland Kolsch despite the fact it carried the same price point as some of their own pub beers.

All in all I compare HopCat to DisneyWorld...Fun to take people when they're from out of town but you can see right through all of it's shortcomings. If they can't fix the service, at least fix the website as the taplist is sometimes months out of date...something in this day in age should be always synced.

kylelenk, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of boatmich
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

boatmich, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Supergenious
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Supergenious, May 20, 2014
Photo of simplejj81
5/5  rDev +8.9%

The brewery has a huge selection of beers (about 200 i was told), and when i was there they had 3 house brews. It also has delicious and reasonable priced food, I had almond crusted duck tenders for less than $8. The 2 bartenders i talked with provided great service and answered several questions!

simplejj81, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of snafui
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

I had the pleasure of stopping into HopCat last Wednesday on recommendation from some nice Grand Rapids locals I met at Founders (but I wanted to go anyway based on BA reviews). The bar is beautiful, very cozy, lively atmosphere. It was around 11:30 and there was a jazz band playing. The decor was very much eye candy and I loved the oversized bar stool seats.

I had trouble deciding what to get after being let down initially (not their fault). I saw Bells two-hearted on the chalk board and ordered that only to find out the board said it would be on cask tomorrow. Damn. So that threw me off and I decided to get an Oberon while I poured over the menu. Unfortunately my co-workers wanted to leave after that pint so I didn't end up having anything else, which is too bad because I could have spent all night trying beers I can't get back home in MA.

I really hope I have the opportunity to visit the area again and give this place a thorough tap by tap inspection :)

In the mean time it left me with a fantastic memory and a yearning to go back.

PS I found something very inspiring about this place. We talked with several Grand Rapids locals over the next few days. Folks that claimed to not be big beer drinkers even, and everyone recommended the HopCat. I see that has a HUGE boon to the craft beer industry. Here's a place with a drool-worthy tap and bottle selection that is attracting more than just beer geeks. Good job HopCat, this is exactly the kind of positive exposure the beer industry should be proud of! You have a great word-of-mouth following out there, keep up the good work!

snafui, May 07, 2008
Photo of RxforBeer
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

We visited the Hopcat while in Grand Rapids for the KBS release. The Hopcat is one of the best beer bars and it is exceptional in many ways. It provides a great place to relax and enjoy outstanding brews. Their selection of beers is one of the best I have seen. They offer a wide range of Michigan micros - some of which can not be found in Ohio. So there was some other pleasant suprises we discovered along our journey for KBS. The service was a 5+++, as Garry and his crew went above and beyond to make our visit outrageously wonderful. THey got to know our tastes and recommended beer after beer and never misled us. I can not say enough great things about this place and the people. It is a beer bar that every true beer drinker must visit. Grand Rapids - you are one lucky town.

RxforBeer, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of hurricanelars
4.86/5  rDev +5.9%

I came to Grand Rapids specificlly for the Short's event at the HopCat and was not disappointed.

We got there around 6 and the place was filled with people enjoying some of tastiest brews around. Lots of seats at the bar and some long wooden tables to satisfy larger groups. Real high ceiling that allow a smoking section to be lofted at the far end of the bar. Very relaxed atmosphere upstairs with a few couches and some comfortable chairs for those who don't mind a little second hand smoke.

It was Joe Short's birthday event so the selection was definitely top notch. Some of my personal favorites from the night were the Turtle Stout, the S'mores Stout, and the Key Lime Pie brew that really nailed the flavor. I stopped back the next morning to try a few others and really enjoyed the Hopapotamus and Bumbles Bounce that were brewed by HopCat. We didn't get a chance to try any food but everything we saw brought out looked amazing.

It was pretty busy during the event so it took a little bit of time to get a beer, but the next morning the service was great. Very knowledgeable staff and friendly. I will definitely be stopping here again the next time I head to Michigan

hurricanelars, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of n0315
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

Amazing. This place transcends what a brewpub should be. A must stop if you like beer. No way around it.

The atmosphere was what you should see out good brewpub. It was lively and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The quality was as good as it gets. Proper glassware for the brews, the place was clean and it looked just amazing inside. Service was good, but it was the worst part about the visit. Took a little too long at the start to get the brews, but got much better after that. Could have just been buys, don't know. Selection speaks for itself. I cannot do it justice with mere words. Food was good, better than what you would usually expect out of a brewpub. Large menu as well.

Great place. a must see.

n0315, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of MarvinTheMarzen
4.68/5  rDev +2%

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.

MarvinTheMarzen, Aug 22, 2011
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 297 ratings.