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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.82/5
Based on:
35 Beers
199 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 321
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
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: 321 | Reviews: 195 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of larryarms847
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of ronin926
4.76/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of MrIncognito
4.13/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I went hear to relax and blow off some steam during a work trip. It was recommended by a local working at the Amway Grand, thanks buddy.

Really great beer selection from beers all over the world and also craft brews. I think they need to update their menu more frequently. I wanted to try a number of beers that "weren't available" anymore. The bar tender was very knowledgable and was able to make some recommendations. This is where I had my first Flanders Red (Rodenbach) thanks to the recommendation from the bar tender. Went perfectly with my greek salad. The sour and bitter of both mixed perfectly.

The atmosphere is cool. Like half bar and half beer hall. They even had the long tables with benches like at the Hofbrauhaus Munchen. Big HD tv's to watch the local sporting event, in this case the Tigers.

Photo of tat2matt
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

When my girl and I decided to visit her family in Michigan (my first time visiting the state), we knew we would find some local breweries/pubs to hit. We love beer and would try to find crazy guys home brewing in their compounds if we were lost in the desert. I did my research and discovered HopCat, but didn't think we'd make it to that side of the state. Then God smiled upon us and gave us a perfect reason (beyond beer) to go to Grand Rapids. I was silly happy like some kid knowing he's going to Disneyland.

Naturally, we started at Founders, but made our way to HopCat for dinner and drinks. The place was exactly what I hoped it would be, a dark-ish joint in an old building with a bunch of random crap on the walls and more tap handles than any beer lover could ever hope to view. The place was pretty much packed, but it didn't seem cramped, and never was conversation with our hosts difficult.

The beer selection was ridiculous. Prices were reasonable. I started with Arcadia's HopMouth Double IPA, then moved to HopCat's own Hoppopotamus. Both were delicious and perfectly complimented the very tasty fish and chips I ordered. The food was great, the beers were great, and the service (Adam) was outstanding. The entire experience was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Had we not planned to visit Brewery Vivant and another local brewery, I easily could have spent the entire evening at HopCat.

Any beer lover who finds themselves with an hour or two of Grand Rapids should make the effort to go to this bar and enjoy everything about it. It is absolutely deserving of every accolade it receives.

Photo of alexanf
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
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 jcompton
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

i went into the hopcat on on friday afternoon and had extremely high expectations due to this sight. this place definitely lives up to the hype.

I had Arcadia Sky High Rye, Shorts Huma Lupa Lucious IPA, and Founders Breakfast Stout. all were great. they had a post stating they were tapping a firkin of Founders Centennial IPA that evening.

the service was very knowledge of the brews and also willing to throw out a suggestion.
i had the Sloppy Joseph and "crack fries." i'd say it's above average pub fare.

the interior is almost all wood and kept very clean. in the back is an area where they brew a few beers. the crowd was mostly local professionals have lunch and a brew.
there is no doubt i will revisit this place everytime i go to GR. this place is a gem.

Photo of Baileyuk
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
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 troywhittaker
3.43/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I was really looking forward to this based on the Ba reviews. I did get to enjoy a couple regional beers, but the first three things I asked for were either out or not tapped (yet listed on menu and/or chalkboard).

The clientele was your typical Friday night crew and a bit younger (and rowdier) than I'd prefer.

Had some fries with my IPA's, but didn't taste anything else.

Overall very nice and polished, but not someplace I'd go frequently.

Wait staff was either overworked or indifferent, didn't see server much after the first order.

--
Update: I was contacted by the HopCat GM via BeerMail and after a series of email conversations, can advise that HopCat mgmt is sincerely interested in taking care of their guests. I was not asked to change anything in my review, but feel it's fair to give some credit for their candor and interest in correcting issues that affected my experience. I've bumped the service from 2 to 3.5.

Photo of eopacich
4.33/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Ah, The Hopcat. So I saw the #3 status and read the hype so I had to make a road trip. This was the centerpiece of my tour, but I also made stops at Sicilianos, International Beverages, GB Russo, and Founders. The Hopcat is a great brewpub. Nice handsome dark woods, hardwood floor on the ceiling, vintage beer artwork, nice old brick,great woodwork and heavy metals on the bar - exactly what a kick ass brewpub should look like. Awesome selection of beers. 48 on tap. Now I've been to places with 50+ taps but there is no crap on their drafts here - lots of great beers. Great selection plus a ton of bottled beers too. Lots of talk about the bathroom so I had to check out both (whoops, too many beers and I accidentally found my way into the women's room). Came here Friday night at 5 ish and amazingly there were open tables (Founder's was packed by 4). Came back for lunch the next day - had a great Pork sandwich (ask for some BBQ sauce) and the crack fries live up to their namesake. Not sure if this is #3 in the world but definitely one of the best in the midwest. I will be back.

Photo of otto251068
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of EnJeiBee
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is one of my favorite places to go in Grand Rapids. Their selection is smaller than only one bar in GR (Logan's Alley) and the atmosphere is amazing. That being said, they have some of the worst service of any beer bar I have ever been to! It's one of those places that has so many people who want to be there that they don't care if you leave or not. Unless you seek out your server you're probably going to be sitting with an empty beer for some time. I really wish more staffers there were like Katie (she doesn't work there anymore, but she was amazing!).

Photo of dorianmarley
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

There is a reason Beer Advocate rates this place the #3 beer bar in the world: it is a blast. Hopcat makes being a beer nerd a cool and exciting experience. They have pages of available beers to choose from, including tons from Michigan and their own stuff, which is typically experimental. The place is always packed on weekends, letting the nerds depart from their basements and sample alongside real people. The food is good and American. And the people are as happy to show you new stuff as you are to try it.

Photo of Thereformedtheo
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Brewstu9923
4.68/5  rDev +2%

Photo of northernbrews
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

HopCat is the best beer bar I've been to overall. Everything here is top notch...from the atmosphere, service, food, and definitely the beer. This was my second trip (would go ALOT more if it wasn't 2.5 hours away) and both times they had crazy events. The first was a Goose Island event w/ 20+ Goose Island beers on tap. This trip was the Short's event w/ 25 Short's beers on tap. Pretty much had a sample of all the beers (quite a good deal and great way to try lots of stuff at $1.00 per sample). Other beers ranged from $4.00 to $6.50 for pint of all the Short's offerings w/ a few pricier (but worth it options on the regular menu) They had Samiclaus on tap which I've never seen before. Had the mac-n-cheese w/ sloopy joe and herbed tomatos....it was damn good. Hung out with Mark the owner and some buddies from Rate and BA which made the experience that much better. Definitely deserving of its high rating on BA and it truely is a world class beer bar!

Photo of grub
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

you enter hopcat through a door in the corner of an L shaped room. along the short side are a bunch of tables with seating for approximately 40 people. there's also a small slightly raised area that can be used as a stage and has a portion of the tables the rest of the time. the other bonus in this section is the bank of windows giving you a view of downtown grand rapids. along the longer side of the room is a giant bar with about 25 bar stools, a center isle with a bunch of tall tables, and long tables/booths along the outer wall. breweriana decorates the walls and ceilings. there's no mistaking that this is a beer bar, and that they haven't tried to be some sort of faux-pub.

the quality of everything i've had - from the lighter snacks to full meals and all the assoicated beverages - is top notch. even the music is pretty damn good and not projected at ear-shattering volumes.

the service is one of the things that keeps you coming back. the staff know their beer, and if you happen to have a question that they can't answer, they're quick to go find one rather than waving you off or making something up. they seem happy to be there too and often share their own passion for the food and drink on the menu. on the rare occasions that your chosen beer is no longer available, they seem good at providing alternate suggestions to help you make your decision.

selection... wow, if everything else didn't keep you coming back, it'll certainly be this. i don't think i've ever ordered a bottle at hopcat simply because i don't think it's possible to run out of tap options. 48 taps, approximately half from michigan breweries, with the rest a mix of midwest, north american, and worldwide favourites. there's often something rare or hard to find pouring and very little chance you'll ever be disappointed. and if you happen to be looking for something a little more obscure, just ask! their "beer guy" (hi steve!) has stockpiles of all sorts of great beer hidden away. but don't get talking to him - you'll find a bunch more beer in your glass and probably spend the rest of the night talking away. wait, i think those are both reasons to talk to him...

the food is great. a good variety of interesting and tasty snack food (if you're just looking for a little nip to accompany your beverage of choice) and entrees (if you'd like something more substantial). possibly the best pretzel i've ever had (especially with the cheese dipping sauce), and i have to say i'm hooked on their crack fries. they really are that good.

when you finally decide it's time to crawl away from hopcat (since walking is often no longer an option), you'll probably be pleasantly surprised at the bill. i thought the food and drink were quite reasonably priced, and i always expect it to have been a more expensive night than it is.

hopcat is a wonderful place, and definitely one that i'd consider to be at the top of its class. i think hopcat is a good chunk of the reason that i've currently made 3 trips from toronto to grand rapids, and i always look forward to the next. heck, each visit seems to have me considering whether i could relocate to the area and visit all the time. now when can i plan my next trip?

Photo of malty
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere is a very open and airy, but still warm & cozy. 20 ft. ceilings with cool old style beer prints staring down upon you from the ceiling. The same prints are found on the backs of various high-sitting stools around the tables throughout the bar - very nice touch of keeping the cool art flowing. Spectacular handmade custom bar that's as nice as I've ever seen - all real wood and very high class. The lighting is very natural during the day (big windows facing the street corner) and adequately (a bit dim) lit at night. Men's bathroom has cool retro rock & film icon prints on the walls: Garcia, Cash, Dylan, Waits, Newman, Pacino, Dirty Harry, etc. War time pin-up prints are fun too. Music is always unique and fresh on the jukebox. The sound system is very full and clear. Not too loud, but still very perceivable. Haven't been there when there's live music or DJ though.

Quality is top-notch. Never had a bad draft or bottle. Always fresh and served in appropriate glass. They even rinse every clean glass with a sprinkler gadget right before the fill it with your beer - just to make sure your glass is perfectly prepared to receive the beer of your liking. 48 taps of fantastic craft beer. Always changing, always fresh. They do have a few certain mainstays, but that's just because demand is so high for these, (ie: Short's Huma Lup IPA, etc.). Their one cask always seems to have something special. I've had so many great cask beers from it, I can't remember them all. There bottle selection is extensive and wide ranging. Many good Belgians, Germans, (Mmmm...Plank) and high gravity special releases. I love their $3 Michigan pint/goblet 2-4pm weekday specials. Just last week I had a (normally $7) chalice of Founder's Canadian Breakfast Stout for $3. Makes it hard to just pick one when you have to go back to work. Every once and a while they'll have a highly recognized person from the industry visit and showcase some special brews and events. Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery is coming later this month, I believe April 26th (Monday). I'll definitely be coming to this! Michael Plank even brewed a special beer to initiate their brewing system their first summer!

Service is the best. Jeremy and Ernie command the bar like super-cool malt & hop ninjas. Always eager to please your pallet and offer smart suggestions, leaving no beer without proper representation. it can get a little slower when the bar is fully packed, but that's what happens when the bar is packed two deep. To say they're friendly is without question. To say their knowledgeable is correct.

The food is amazing. Great twists on American standards. Soups, burgers/sandwiches, salads, unique appetizers and their infamous 'Crack Fries'. They also host the most amazing beer dinners (usually on Sundays at 6pm) I've had the pleasure of attending. Their commitment to world class craft beer and fresh, clever and tasty food is the best I've ever had under the same roof.

The overall value is reasonable when you take into account the total package of HopCat. They do have great daily specials to help your wallet. They don't cut corners, so remember this when you look at the prices. There are cheaper prices out there, but we're not comparing apples-to-apples when putting them next to 'pedestrian'- type bars either.

I was lucky enough to make it to the 'BA Grand Opening' on a Thursday night in early January '08. It was the night before their official Grand Opening. Everything was Half-Off. I thought I was in heaven. I've been here many, many times since and every visit is always as good as the last. They've made the blueprint, now I'm spoiled for life.

Photo of kylelenk
2.83/5  rDev -38.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 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.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The receipt came with the message "Review us on beeradvocate.com", so I'm complying..

I had been looking to visit here a while and finally had the chance about a week ago.

One of the best selections of beers I've seen on tap, including several that I had not run into before. Several rarities from Goose Island, small Michigan breweries, and others across the country. They also have a few of their own beers.

Service was great and very knowledgeable. Offered me the remainder of a keg for free when I ordered a beer they had just about exhausted.

Food was very good and had a few out-of-the-ordinary items for a bar beer like this.

Great place all-around.

Photo of ElizabethCraig
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Hopcat, how I love thee!

My husband and I went there two days in a row when we visited Grand Rapids. "Bob" help us if we lived there, it would be our regular haunt.

A beautiful place, with lots of dark wood, but not so dark that it feels cave-like. There's quite a few tables, a nice decent sized bar and a standup bar rail in case the place is busy.

Late night the place was pretty hopping, we had a table near the window and each had a beer. The waiter was very helpful with beer selection and was happy to make recommendations and even bring out a few samples. Extremely kind, good service - I regret that we missed their kitchen hours that night.

We returned the next day and happily the gentleman at the bar (edited to add: Steve) was their beer purchaser! Happy day!!

We talked about a Detroit area brewery while I sampled some of their beers on tap (we will definitely visit them soon, great beers!), they sampled out a sour stout from Jolly Pumpkin that was so absolutely wonderful that we brought back a growler of it (we shared it with some local friends and spread the Jolly Pumpkin love), and we got to sample their crack fries (they are, by the way, addictive).

The service was stellar, the beers were excellent (both their own, and their draft beers), the atmosphere is very elegant, but casual.

Locals were eating lunch at the end of the bar, I like seeing local peeps eating at a bar - usually it means a good value and good food.

To sum it up, if you're in Grand Rapids go here!

Photo of mobius387
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped here for dinner and drinks one night on a road trip through western Michigan. This was undoubtedly the highlight of a trip filled with awesome breweries and brew pubs! Service is just flat out awesome. The people who work at this place go out of their way to make sure you get the most out of the beer they serve. Food was really good too. Atmosphere is very unique and the whole place seems centered around the bar which is perfect for a place that is known for their great beer. Some of the beer is a bit pricey, but considering that you can't find most of these beers on tap anywhere else, its understandable.

Overall, this was where we spent the most time at one place on our trip, and it was because this place is a fantastic place to drink beer and relax. Thanks HopCat! Can't wait to return

Photo of HopsMatt
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of gradergator
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Supergenious
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 321 ratings.