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Not Rated.
Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
Based on:
40 Beers
210 Hads
Place Score: 100
Reviews: 197
Visits: 368
Avg: 4.52
pDev: n/a
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

Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 197 | Visits: 368
Photo of craft_shannie
4.08/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We visited for drinks & lunch. It's a quick walk from the Ford & public museums. Popular & crowded, it took us 30 minutes or so to grab a table in the early afternoon. Cool space - tall tin ceiling, beautiful long bar, good variety of tables - bar height, bench tables, half circle seating. The space - even though crowded & loud - has a nice intimacy to it. For being voted the #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine, I expected more of a selection. Draught beer choices were featured on a menu - one pager - maybe 25-30. I had two stout choices w. what was already sold out. Service was OK. Food section was standard, but good. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have HopCat down the block from me, but not sure it's deserving of #3 on Planet Earth distinction.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Came here on Mother's Day. It was very accommodating.

Our server was excellent and very good.

Beer selection was fantastic.

Food was a little salty for my taste, but nonetheless very well.

This place is worth every penny.

Great times at HopCat I can't wait to return!

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Photo of ffejherb
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

HopCat is simply one of those beer bars that just makes me want to pack my bags and relocate to Grand Rapids, MI. This may quite possibly be THE absolute best beer bar I've ever visited. simply put... YES, it is that awesome!

I was really fortunate to visit HopCat on 11/29/08 with fellow BA's brewslut, Deuane and SierraGS. After literally getting shut out the night before (they were at capacity due to a band performance), I was skeptical that we would even get to vist. Thankfully, the Beer Gods were smiling on us, because we were able to stop in the next morning, and let me tell you... I didn't want to leave!

This place boasts an absolutely gorgeous bar with seating that just invites you to stay all day and drink from their 40+ taps. The decor in this place must have set the owner back quite a bit, but it was indeed worth the extra effort.

As for the beer, there was definitely no shortage in this department. I didn't even peruse their bottle selection, though I'm sure it was equally impressive. Their extensive tap selection featured plenty of MI local brews as well as West Coast and Belgian selections. Pricing was reasonable and service was top notch. Not only was the waitress sporting a BA T-shirt, she was also extremely knowledgeable (a self-professed beer geek) and easy on the eyes to boot!

Another big plus was the FREE juke box, which was a nice touch, albeit rather difficult to navigate and figure out. It was nice to see some Zappa in a juke box (the owner is a huge fan, apparently, as evidenced by the mural in the men's restroom). We got to meet the owner and also the manager of the place, and both were extremely friendly and jovial.

If there ever was a beer destination, this place is certainly it. I can't see myself ever visiting Grand Rapids, MI without stopping here... and hopefully for a longer time than I was permitted with this visit!

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Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by here on my first brewery tour of michigan earlier this month. Hit founders first then walked over to Hopcat. I had read a lot of great things about this place and their amazing beer selection, I couldn't wait to check it out. Probably got there at around 7 on a Friday night and had to wait for a seat at the bar (not too long though). The place was jumping. Really good atmosphere. Good engergy in the place. I like that. I like when I go to a place and it feels like people are having a good time (if that makes any sense). My gf and I get a couple menus and are blown away by the selection of what is on tap. I decided to try short's smores stout and the gf a couple pumpkin ales. I regret to say I did not sample any of hopcats own brews but fully intend to on my next trip up. I also decided to order some crack fries that I have read about in reviews on yelp and such. Pretty good...but cheese and bacon make everything better. We hung out here for a little over an hour and had a great experience. Like I said, the place was jumping...but service was exceptional. Had multiple bartenders ask if everything was good, do we need anything, etc. My only regrets are not trying one of the in house beers and not sample more off of their draftlist. Overall, one of the better brewpubs I have ever visited. Will always go back if in grand rapids.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Atmosphere: just a nice bar with cool decorations that are all about beer and pop culture.

Quality: i will have to amend this when i finally try hopcat beer, but their taplist alone is of the best quality as far as bars go

Service: good service while i was there. my waitress made it around enough so i always had beer but never too much

Selection: probably about 6 of their own plus a wonderful and varied taplist. I tried 5 different beers in one night and still missed a few. looks like they have great tap events too

Overall: one of the best multitaps with the best prices for what they have

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Photo of ndekke39
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Visited HopCat with my brother on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The place was pretty open, so we found a seat easily. The place has a really nice vibe - lots of wood accents, great old building. Big long only bar with a couple of TVs. There's a patio out front, and at one end of the building are the guest brewing facilities that you can see through the glass.

Service was great - very attentive and patient with us as we selected our beers.

Selection is top-notch. They gave us a huge menu of beers on tap. Big focus on Michigan breweries, plus a good American and import selection. There's also a huge range of bottles, although we didn't see a menu for that. Which was good - it was hard enough to choose from the draft list as it was.

Didn't try the food, although that menu looked great, too.

Nice addition to the Grand Rapids beer scene. Great building, nice folks, excellent selection. I'll definitely be back.

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Photo of Mxsluis
4.51/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

We live an hour away, yet find time to get here about a dozen times a year. Grand Rapids is growing and so is its reputation as beer city. This place has a very good selection of beer on tap. The selection changes so never a need to be bored with the same brews if you like adventure and variety. At times the service can be less than stellar, but the beer almost always is served correctly. The crack fries are good and I really like the chicken tacos. Nice place in an old building with character. If in town for Art Prize, I strongly recommend you check it out.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.95/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Apparently this place is a relatively new beer bar, but I'd never been to Grand Rapids before so it was brand new to me. Been doing some beer travels the past few months and now finally getting around to recording them. This place is big - giant room, very brassy and polished looking, almost like a big old dining room or something. Lots of giant paintings of musicians on the walls and great music playing as well. I think the owners must be into jazz or something. Service was fine and the bartenders seem to know what they're doing, even got a nice recommendation for something new. The points for the selection at HopCat come from their wide array of local stuff. Lots of Michigan breweries featured here with a nice big menu with plenty of explanations and reading material about the beers. Local cask beer too, always a bonus. They had some nice Belgians but I wasn't wowed by that part of the menu. Still, HopCat is a pretty great place where you'll find something unusual and get into the local beer scene.

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Photo of alleykatking
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

First off just let me say I had a better time visiting here than at Founders for the day. I didn't really know what to expect when I walked in there but I figured this had to be a good place. Good doesn't even begin to really say how I felt. I was blown away when I first walked in and noticed how big the place was. The beer (tap) list was amazing with beers from all over the place. And the bottle list had even more of a stranglehold of beers from all over the world. This is the place to go if you are ever in Grand Rapids. Prices were very reasonable and Mark is very friendly and helpful (thanks for the beer shop advice). And talk about a great host (thanks for cracking open those beers). I have been to a lot of "beer bars" and this one by far is the best I have been to. The staff was friendly and even though I didn't taste the food I saw many plates come out and it did look quite good. I can't wait to swing back up there when I get a chance. Just simply amazing....I don't know what else to say.

Edit: After forgetting to mention this in the original post I must say the bartender Kim was amazing. She was friendly and even took time out to make small talk with us. And take our picture..in the women's bathroom. She rocks....times 10!

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Photo of nrbw23
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in at Hopcat on Sunday and low and behold they had a beer pairing from Arcadia. It was pretty awesome. Good food and good beer.

The atmosphere was pretty awesome. Huge list of taps and bottles. Top notch and very classly looking. They had around 50 taps and 150 bottles available. The service was outstanding, they had a great knowledge of the beer and let us sample several other brews.

They had so many beers that I had a hard time deciding which ones I wanted to try. This place is great by far one of the coolest bars I've been to.

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Photo of BertSugar
4.86/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Took a very cold several block walk over from Founders. Very convenient location and boy was it worth it. On a Thursday night it was absolutely packed with hipster doofusses trying to score to a semi-lame jazz combo. Be that as it may, sitting at the bar we were focused on one of the best tap and bottle lists I've seen. Won't bore with the details of exact beers; but suffice it to say we were certainly not bored by any sort of usual suspects. The bartender despite being swamped was extremely couteous and attentive. He was nonplussed at having to send someone down to the cellar to retreive a special request from the bottle list. The place was done up in Chistmas finery and looked great. Very classy and I will certainly go back during, say, a Saturday afternoon when it's not a meat market.

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Photo of nflmvp
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've only had the pleasure of stopping into Hop Cat, once. But it was quite a pleasure.

The atmosphere is fairly typical of this kind of place. It's nice but not much different than most other top notch beer bars. I can't deduct any points here but I can't hardly add them either. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I've scored it accordingly.

Quality is top notch. They do a great job of making sure there are plenty of great beers for everyone's taste. High marks, here!

Service was good but the place was pretty busy. If I could experience this place with a lighter crowd, I might up the score on service. All things considered, I think the bartenders and wait staff did a good job taking care of us.

Selection was awesome. I don't hand out fives for almost anything but if anything deserves a 5, it's the selection of brews at Hop Cat.

I just had a sandwich but it was good. However, I need more than a sandwich to really tell what I think of their food. I'll try to order something a little more substantial the next time, to see if I can upgrade that score a bit.

Value is about what you'd expect.

I look forward to stopping into Hop Cat again, very soon.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I went here a couple of times during a weekend stay in Grand Rapids.

Atmosphere is nice and tasteful. I was here during the lunch hour and had ample seats available. I was also here at night where I couldn't find a seat to save my life. I read previous posts about this. I would agree it can be annoying, it is only if I can't get a beer. This wasn't the case. I got one right away by going up to the bar and immediately a bar tender took notice and served me. Issue resolved.

The beer selection is very good. While I respect a bottle selection and tap selection, I respect bars that showcase the local. This does that.

I had several of the house beers, all range from so so to excellent. The food here is the hidden gem. Maybe one of the better food and beer places here. Crack fries and mac and cheese are great as well as the burgers.

We didn't drive but there is ample parking in GR. Staff was polite and accommodating to my 1year old.

One suggestion, with such an extensive list of foods and beers, suggest some pairings. Only my opinion.

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Photo of moshea
4.95/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

What else can you say about HopCat that has not already been said? The place looks great as you walk in. The bar area is dominated by a great ornate bar back the rest of the bar looks as good with some fun twists thrown in.

Service was top notch. Marc the owner and his wife stopped by introduced themselves and shared some beer knowledge. Steve was great, steering me through some selections from Shorts and the Livery I could not get at home. I mentioned to Steve that a friend was through last June. Steve immediately remembered that my friend had bought a bottle of beer but left it at the bar and asked me to take it to him.

The selection is great with 48 taps and over 150 bottles. All the Michigan heavies are present and the rest of the country and world are well represented. Be sure to ask to see the reserve list. They also recently began brewing their own beer. The Barley Wine I had was fantastic and a great example of its style.

I cannot recommend this place enough. HopCat and Founders have taken a small corner of Grand Rapids and turned it into a top notch beer destination.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Been here a couple times while in Grand Rapids. Just an outstanding bar to stop in and grab a beer and food at. Huge selection of beers on tap and bottle. The bar is very expansive and the bartenders were more than friendly. The food was pretty good as well (the crack fries are truly exceptional). The staff was friendly. Busy place though so be prepared to wait for a table or hang out at the bar. At night this place really gets packed both on the main level and the upstairs balcony. Truly a destination if you are in the area. Nice that it is within walking distance to or from Founders as well.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I stopped here with my girlfriend for lunch on our way home from a wedding in Michigan because I had heard great things about this place. The atmosphere was really cool looking. Not only did it have a normal high quality old world beer bar going with lots of wood decor and the ever-changing chalkboards above the bar it was cool. The place was decorated in a Bohemian Style and the chairs were covered in what seemed to be some sort of French art and jazz was playing over head. This just came off as a very classy establishment. The quality of this place was pretty good. It seemed that if it wasn't a Sunday afternoon in January they may have had some amazing stuff on tap. As far as Barleywines were, they had a lot of things with some serious age on them that were really tempting, but overall my choice was for a year-old Batch 9000. The service was good, our waitress was attentive, and seemed to know how everything was done. I never really tested her because for the most part I knew of everything on the menu. The food was pretty tasty, I enjoyed a pulled Beef sandwich and my girlfriend went crazy for a veggie wrap that she thought was amazing. The prices of beer are a little on the high side unless you get a HopCat beer, but the food prices are in some instances on the cheap end. Overall an enjoyable experience, I would love to be back with a different tap list.

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Photo of sarahspat
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is definitely one of my favorite places in GR.

Obviously, for selection (especially tap selection) HopCat cannot be beat. However, almost every time I go, at least one of the beers I try to order is no longer available. (Edit: I have noticed that they have been updating the menus more frequently lately, so I raised my ratings). But they always have some incredible, rare beers there. What else is there to say about the beer? The astounding selection has already been thoroughly documented by other reviewers... and really that's the most important thing.

The wait staff is okay; reasonably knowledgeable. One time I tried to order two different beers that they were out of, so they brought me a bunch of free samples to help me decide. Even though I'd already had all of the sample beers they brought me, it's always awesome to get free beer. However, I am told that they no longer give out free samples because they got in trouble for it.

They have an AMAZING happy hour deal which is basically a free meal. $5 for a burger, fries AND a beer!! insane! it only applies to Michigan brews that are normally $4 a pint... which doesn't bother me at all.

However, otherwise the food is good, a little on the pricey side. If you're used to fancy-pants restaurants, then sure. But on my budget, it has to be a special occasion to spend that much money in one evening. However, I recognize that HopCat is much classier than most bars, and you're paying for that as well as the almost ridiculously amazing selection of beers. I guess the beer prices are reasonable, but, because of my being spoiled by Founders, they still seem a little high to me.

HopCat is a fantastic bar, and for beer enthusiasts, its definitely worth a visit or two.

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Photo of AylwinForbes
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Grand Rapids was a major stop on Dulcie and Aylwin's Second Big Beer Aventure. We sort of lucked into HopCat and we are so glad we did. This place deserves all the plaudits it receives. We ended up going there twice in one day, taking a break to visit Founders just around the corner. Where to start? The building is great architecturally with a giant bar, high ceilings and luxurious decor of an olde worlde feel. The staff is fabulously friendly and knowledgeable. Having just come from places like Bells and Arcadia, where beer is served with measured disinterest, it was nice to meet people who clearly enjoyed what they were doing. The beer selection is breath-taking in its width and depth; we enjoyed several hard-to-find big beers. The food was quite decent as well. All-in-all, you have to make a pilgrimage at some time.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Well, on my recent visit to western Michigan I hit Hopcat after doing some research and was so happy that I hit it at least three times in five days! Katie our server was great and we sampled plenty of the wonderful beer on tap! I was impressed with the quality of the 48 or so taps, great European beers and well as wonderful Michigan beers and regional beers.

The food was a very nice surprise. My brother ordered a quasadilla the first night and wouldn't stop talking about it the whole trip (It was damn good!). We ate a couple of meals there and found the food to be high end bar fare which was also a good value.

This is truly one of the best beer bars that I've ever been in and if I am ever in Grand Rapids again I will race to Hopcat directly from the airport!

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Photo of donnierickles
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great happy hour deals on food and michigan beers. Their taps are pretty impressive. They always seem to have at least one beer on tap that i have never seen anywhere else.

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Photo of alexgash
4.95/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Made the pilgrimage from Ann Arbor for the BA Pre-Opening Party. And wow am I ever glad I did! Since the party was a special event with a special crowd and very special specials (half off all beer!) I am reviewing this place based on what I would expect to be a regular night with full prices.

The atmosphere was incredible. Spacious with tall ceilings, big windows, rustic brick, great art/decor, and just a great overall feel to the place. Oh, and the centerpiece is the big, beautiful bar with its properly-tap handled tap fountains and cathedral-like backing (worth the trip just to see this alone!). No smoking on the main floor with a small, cozy smoker's lounge upstairs. Service was great, especially considering how new the place is and how busy it was. The menus are thorough and descriptive and there were plenty of them.

The quality and selection were top-notch with 48 taps (not a single crap-tap) and 150+ bottles and one hand-pump. Good local representation (which allowed me to try The Hideout's and The Livery's fine offerings for the first time). Clean and appropriate glassware was provided with each beer (tulips, imperial pints, and over-sized wine glasses). The food was terrific too. The fries were very addicting and the pita/veggie spread was great to snack on with our bottles of Three Philosophers and Old Ruffian. Reasonably priced too! This is a destination beer bar and I can't wait to go back!

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Photo of ahq514
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Been here a few times before but now decided to review it. Awesome experience. 48 taps, 150 bottles. All quality selections, a lot of michigan beers. Awesome service. We sat at the bar, made a comment about a half acre shirt of a guy behind the bar. Ended up being the beer buyer for hopcat and we bullshitted about beer for about 15 to 20 mins. Was really busy for a wednesday night, not a spot in the place besides at the bar. Food was also excellent and fairly reasonably priced. I would love to live in this place. Too bad I don't live in gr anymore.

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Photo of yankeej13
4.94/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

My dad and I took a trip a month ago up to Michigan on a Microbrewery crawl. This was one of the places to try along the way. We were just going to go in for a beer and leave. Once we were in there our plans changed!

Once we first walked in there we were shocked at the surroundings of the place. Beer bottles everywhere a totally awesome looking interior for a beer bar!

Quality- Absolutely fantastic! Fresh beer everywhere! Loved it.

Service- The service of the staff was so fantastic we stayed almost 2 to 3 hours in this place just talking and hanging out having a good time. The staff behind the bar made us feel right at home and kept giving us free samples and just being completely awesome! Had a great time talking to them about our beer stories and what not.

Selection- Amazing had a ton of tap handles from all different Microbreweries. They had a great variety of different bottles as well! Not to mention a giant menu of their own brewed beer which was fantastic!

Value- Most reasonable prices on our trip.

Looking forward to going back to Michigan and stopping in Hopcat, this time with our intentions of being there for a while!

Thanks guys Cheers to you all!

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

--My review from Yelp.--

I hadn't known about HopCat until revving up BeerAdvocate soon after I turned 21 and learned that it was apparently one of the very best craft beer bars in the country. Logically, I had to stop by when I went on a mini-trip to Grand Rapids the day after Christmas. As it turned out, it was the first of many great after-Christmas presents.

We came in at about 12:45 on a Thursday -- the day after Christmas -- and were happy to see that there wasn't a wait. The area of HopCat itself is mostly quite narrow with a brewing area in the back. Incidentally, I didn't know they brewed their own beer until a week or two ago.

We all (my sister, dad, and I) all decided to start out with their house beers (which I took a picture of). From what I understand, they rotate a decent bit, but I was pretty shocked that they didn't have a single stout or porter on-tap, considering it's late December. Overall, their beer is pretty good, and better than I had expected, but it's certainly no Founders. For what it's worth, I do enjoy their brews more than their neighbor, Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

For lunch, I got the Spicy Pulled Pork sandwich just because I hadn't had pork for awhile, and read a few positive things about it... I'm sure a bit of beer on an empty stomach helped a bit, but it was truthfully one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I've had. It wasn't smothered in BBQ sauce so as to mask the pork, the choice of brioche for a bun was a nice choice, and there was a nice but not too spicy kick as well. I felt like the slice of Swiss was a bit unnecessary considering it got masked quite a lot by the pork and BBQ sauce, but it certainly didn't ruin it. A tasty, well-made sandwich. Their Crack Fries are also pretty outstanding -- think of them as Rally's/Checkers fries, with less grease, salt, and heartburn. They're pretty peppery and have a very nice flavor to them. I wouldn't quite label them as the "BEST FRIES EVER", but there's no doubting that they're damn outstanding.

My sister chose the mushroom black bean burrito wrap, which was a pretty hefty portion. She said it was good, and ate most of it. I didn't taste it, but it certainly smelled damn good. My dad got the porter braised beef -- he enjoyed it, and I didn't hate it, but we both definitely agreed that the pulled pork was much better.

I was sort of hesitant to give HopCat a 5/5 rating because it took about 45 minutes to get our food in a not-all-that-full restaurant, but it was a good time, for sure. The 2-5pm Happy Hour Michigan Beer special (all beers brewed in Michigan that are $8 and lower are $3) was a great deal as well. Some of the beer prices seem a tad bit high, though. For instance, twelve bucks for 10oz of Ten Fidy? It's a very good beer with a pretty large ABV, but that pricing is waaay off the mark.

As a whole, HopCat is a place I'd recommend to anybody visiting Grand Rapids.

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Photo of Roeters
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Just down the street from my apartment and thank GOD. Great service, great beer, great place to sit and enjoy a pint or four. If you are not sure what you want just ask a server or bartender, they will find something that you will love.

The only place around with a hand-pull tap, and it changes every Friday, which are mostly Michigan Brews

A hugh selection of local and national brews. With a good selection of International Brews.

The only place other then Founders stop at on a visit to Downtown GR for a true beer lover.

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HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.