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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

308 Ratings
Ratings: 308
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 50
Beer Ratings: 286
Beer Avg: 3.8
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: 308 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of midlifec
4.5/5  rDev -2%

midlifec, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of cratez
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

First stop on a recent trip to Grand Rapids with nicktbm and our significant others. This legendary pub is a beer geek’s wet dream. Inside sports a massive old-fashioned bar, 6 towers with 50 craft taps, countless tables throughout the interior, and a bustling, party-like atmosphere with killer background music and lots of college-aged beer drinkers. We grabbed a four-person booth beside the bar.

Our waitress was very friendly and efficient. Drinks and food arrived quickly and she made some helpful beer suggestions to my oenophile girlfriend.

The draught and bottle selections are redonkulous. All of the beers are sorted by style and they have tons of rare and cellared offerings from around the world. As an example of how insane the beer menu is, they had 6 barley wines on tap. That alone is worth a "5." Our group ordered a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Arcadia Hopmouth DIPA, HopCat Weizen, and Bell’s Oarsman Ale on draught and a Saint Somewhere Saison Athene, BrewDog Mikkeller I Hardcore You, and Baird Red Rose Amber out of the bottle. The Hardcore and Oarsman were my favourites of the night.

Food is pretty good as well. I went for the Applewood Smoked Bacon Grilled Cheese while the lady had a Turkey Bruschetta Burger. Each came with a side of Crack Fries and both dishes tasted fantastic. Prices are incredibly fair as 8 drinks and 2 entrees came to less than $70.

Overall, this place boasts an unmatched beer list at excellent value with a really fun vibe. HopCat is the main reason we came to Grand Rapids and we were not disappointed. An essential stop in Michigan and the best beer bar that I’ve encountered so far.

cratez, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of brewandbbq
4.5/5  rDev -2%

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.

brewandbbq, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of MSandahl23
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

MSandahl23, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of CraigTravor
4.5/5  rDev -2%

CraigTravor, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of frazbri
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%

I stopped at HopCat Saturday after the winter beer festival. The place was packed, and after a little search found a few empty barstools to occupy. The crowd was a mixture of beer geeks and young professionals out on the town. There are HDTVs above the bar, and a good mix of music from old school James Brown to Zepplin played at a volume that allowed for conversation.

The menu is mostly sandwiches and comfort food of high quality. I had a fish sandwich with crack fries and side of mac & cheese. The fish was broiled tillapia with a cajun spice rub served on a tasty fresh roll. The mac is a stove-top mac, but the cheese sauce is much better than the blue box powder. The crack fries are seasoned battered fries, usually not my favorite, but these had a nice garlic kick and were perfectly crisp and golden. The food nearly equalled the beer.

HopCat boosts 48 taps plus 100 plus bottles. Approximately half of the taps are Michigan beers. Bell's, Founders, New Holland, Shorts, Dragonmead, Kuhnhenn, Michigan Brewing and the Livery were represented. The goodness didn't end there. The rest of the drafts were craft brewers too. The only exception I saw on the menu was listed as "lawnmower beer" which is one of the old lager brands at a time; pabst, strohs or something else.

Service wasn't great, but it was forgivable. The bartenders were busy the entire time we were there. They do know beer, and gave lots of good recommendations to those that were intimidated by the beer list.

The management and owners of HopCat understand beer. great beer + great food = great bar

frazbri, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of TheSamKuehn
4.76/5  rDev +3.7%

Long overdue review from one of the best beer bars in the country I've ever been too. Right up there with Churchkey in DC for anyone familiar with that establishment. My first visit was during KBS release 2013. It was such a great experience I remember it that well even to this day. First of all HopCat had one of the best draft beer lineups I've ever seen. Tons and tons of great MI breweries and not just the big boys. Lots of smaller MI breweries which was awesome to sample so many breweries in one place. The service was more than I could've reasonably expected. Emily was our server. My sister and I were there every night of our 4 night visit to GR and Emily was there each night to help us. She went above and beyond in explaining the different offerings with really great information about some of the beers. Very, very impressed and I will stop in every time I am in the area.

TheSamKuehn, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of BUNZILLA
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

BUNZILLA, Sep 20, 2014
Photo of elNopalero
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Some times it pays to start your beer drinking in the afternoon. I came here with a friend on a visit to Grand Rapids and this was our first stop. They had so many beers on tap—I was overwhelmed at first by the number of handles at the different stations spanning the length of the bar—until I learned they will provide you with a ‘menu’ of available beers. It just so happened our visit was following a Short’s take over so there were a lot of Joe Short’s tasty beverages on tap.

That many offerings alone would make me a regular. I mean, just when you’ve worked your way through the board there’s always going to be something else you just have to try coming up, right? It’s a tough life, I know.

Even better was our server who endured/enjoyed our beer geek questions, shared recommendations and tasting notes of his own, and—in what has become the stuff of legend—poured us a flight of their house beers that was somewhere more on the side of half-pours than tasters. Truly epic! We left a hearty tip on a tab that should have been tripled anywhere else. Between this and Founders Grand Rapids beer drinkers have it made.

elNopalero, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of jim102864
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Another gem within walking distance of my hotel while on business in Mason, MI but actually staying in Grand Rapids (and doing the 80 mile drive each day just so I could check out Founders. See my review). I started my visit with a Madrugada Obscura by Jolly Pumkin. A RIS sour (wow) that the bartender said was difficult to get and that they hadn't had for over a year. Everbody out here seems to know quality. It was served a tad too cold so I let it sit. As to the atmosphere itself, it reflects the neighborhood which is in an area with brick sidewalks and vintage buildings. You will see a high wooden plaster and lathe exposed wood ceiling with a lovely cherry wood bar back with arches like a cathedral. Large, leather padded bar stools and handsomely decorated tall wooden chairs with elephants or a beer drinkers face lightly painted on them. Sorta loud music plays which was only mildly annoying. There is a long bar which is primarily straight but curves at one end like a question mark. Interesting throwback twenties and thirties era framed posters hang from the ceiling. Looks like about 50 taps with MI very well represented. I also met the owner, Mark. What a cool dude. If I recall correctly, he is in the financial investment world by trade and became a beer enthusiast whose travelled all over the country and has been to the best beer bars. It shows in the level of quality brew offerings and the beer enthusiast supportive atmosphere. We shared a 750 of Shorts Imperial Black Cherry Porter. Awesome stuff. Gary the bartender said it was a two year old bottle. God I loved this place. Next was the Dragonmead Final Absolution Triple. I finished my solid experience with a Shorts Chocolate Wheat Porter. A must place to visit if in Grand Rapids, only a short walk from Founders.

jim102864, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of Fluffheady
3.48/5  rDev -24.2%

The bar is BEAUTIFUL. The decor is off the charts. The beer selection is great. The staff and patrons ruin it.

Lots of douchebags. On both sides of the bar. On one particular visit (with a group of people that has a lot of industry experience) we asked for a taste of 2 beers. The girl behind the bar told us ’they are basically the same’. We still asked for the tastes anyway, and they were very, very different. This was after waiting more than 10 minutes for one of the 5 bartenders behind the bar to even acknowledge our presence. It was a moderately busy Friday evening ( I have been here in several times, so I’m not just basing this one visit). The bartenders had their backs to the customers, and they were gathered around a phone. When we finished our first round, we waited another 10 minutes with empty glasses before the bartenders turned around. The guy looked super annoyed that we asked for a beer. Same experience when ordering the second round.

I have 2 words for this place. Over it.

If I were the owner, I would ruffle some serious feathers. This staff sucks. If the bartenders could do their jobs, I could have given this place a near perfect rating.

Fluffheady, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev -2%

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.

willjschmidt, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of styleisking
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

styleisking, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of SpdKilz
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

Nestled in downtown Grand Rapids, this bar is on the corner of the street and looks pretty cool from the outside.

Walking in, the place looks awesome. Bottles everywhere, old church pews with big tables, an outdoor patio, paintings hanging from the ceiling, a huge bar, etc. Very cool atmosphere.

My brother-in-law, father, and myself only had a short time here as it was a quick stop on our way up to Traverse City. There was a great tap list (though I will admit nothing was too crazy on it – was hoping for some legit sours or other crazy stouts but most were just run of the mill (though solid).

The food was damn good and I enjoyed my BBQ chicken sandwich thoroughly with a Short’s Huma. A very enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to go back and enjoy some more of their good food and beers.

SpdKilz, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of _morandi_
4.5/5  rDev -2%

_morandi_, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of adamette
5/5  rDev +8.9%

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).

adamette, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of mecmd
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

mecmd, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of david131
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%

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.

david131, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -15.3%

A large number of taps plus an outstanding bottle collection. Knowledgeable and efficient servers. Week day specials. More or less proper glassware is used. Very attractive interior is rather noisy despite the high ceilings. Beautiful wood bar houses 6 sets of taps. All of the food that I ordered or saw was nicely presented and appetizing, but didn't venture from standard pub fare. Tap list emphasizes Michigan brews. Beer menu is nicely organized by style.

chinchill, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of mgbickel
4.66/5  rDev +1.5%

If you are anywhere near the Grand Rapids area, this is a must stop. Pretty much around the corner from Founders makes it a great piggyback trip.

Hopcat is located inside an old, restored building in the heart of GR. You enter into a skinny room that houses lots of tables and a long bar down the left side. Classic pub decor fills the room. The rear of the building is dedicated to brewing where the equipment can be seen behind glass.

They have a wonderful draft selection which can be found on daily (?) updated menus. They also have a great bottle selection for dine in or take out. I think they have almost everything MI gets...with the locals highlighting the lineup.

The staff seemed to be knowledgeable...I watched many pours and everything seemed to go into correct glassware. My only complaint is that they would not give out a sample (you could PURCHASE a sample). Said it is against MI law...hmmmm

I went in here with high expectations and they were met. Don't miss an opportunity to experience this place!

mgbickel, May 19, 2010
Photo of bowzer4birdie
5/5  rDev +8.9%

bowzer4birdie, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of JohnParadee
5/5  rDev +8.9%

JohnParadee, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

leprechaunandfatman, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of little_star
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

little_star, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of tpd975
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%

Stopped in during my Indiana trip.

Real cool location. Nice bar with tons of tables. The building itself is nice with very nice restrooms. We went after an assortment of appetizers for a snack and all were tasty. Above your normal bar fare for sure.

The online beer list was a bit outdated but the waitress was great. She knew exactly what had been killed and what new offerings were on tap. I ordered a ton of beers and a million more 2 ounce samples (one dollar each). I love an educated waitstaff and our waitress was really on top of things.

The draft list was real nice. They had it broken down by category and the selection was nice with offering from all parts of the US and beyond. The bottle list was nice as well. I went after several of the B. Nektar Meads which I had never heard of before.

Overall a real nice spot. Falls a bit short of Founder's which I thought was an absolute gem. That being said if I am ever within a hundred miles of Grand Rapids I will stop by the hopcat again, and you should as well.

tpd975, Apr 11, 2010
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.