Ratings: 290 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
4.9/5 rDev +7%
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.
11-02-2011 20:32:33 | More by cratez
4.5/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
03-19-2009 19:09:52 | More by brewandbbq
4.53/5 rDev -1.1%
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
02-24-2008 23:54:07 | More by frazbri
5/5 rDev +9.2%
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.
01-09-2012 22:16:32 | More by elNopalero
4.8/5 rDev +4.8%
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.
04-04-2009 12:17:23 | More by jim102864
4.76/5 rDev +3.9%
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.
06-13-2014 15:08:47 | More by TheSamKuehn
3.48/5 rDev -24%
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.
08-05-2013 01:55:57 | More by Fluffheady
4.5/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
12-08-2011 00:26:58 | More by willjschmidt
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.