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HopCat

Your Rating: None
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
257 Ratings
HopCatHopCat
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

25 Ionia SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503
United States

(616) 451-4677 | map
hopcatgr.com

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.

Added by hopcatgr on 01-06-2008

BEER STATS
Beers:
48
Reviews:
75
Ratings:
257
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.52/5
Reviews:
200
Ratings:
403
pDev:
9.73%
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 403 |  Reviews: 200
Photo of EffinABubba
4.78/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

One of the coolest bars I've been in, hands down. If you're a jazz fan, you'll love the murals (e.g. Thelonius Monk, etc.), if you're a beer fan, you'll love the selection and beerphanalia, if you're a fan of comfortable bars with interesting decor, you'll be at home. This is a very nice bar that isn't pretentious. You can comfortably mix crowds. Mark, the owner, was present at our visit and was very friendly and extremely generous to us out-of-towners. We also saw him circulating through the bar chatting with folks, so he proves himself to be a man interested in the experience of his guests. Mark introduced us to Steve, who I believe is either the bar manager or operations manager. Anyway, Steve gave us a tour and made sure we had a chance to try beers we normally wouldn't have had a chance to try or didn't have on our radar screens...and all this during a busy evening. I highly recommend this place!

 914 characters

Photo of NealCassady
4.78/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My favorite beer bar. The place has very nice decor that gives it an old time quality feel. There are a long row of assorted taps from great Michigan brews to Belgians. The bottle list is extensive to say the least. They usually have a very good beer on handpull as well. All the food I have had is good, but a little pricey. Ambiance seems to stay chill along with the laid back staff. I have yet to hear a song playing that I didn't like. I also Met the ringleader and he is great, loves beer and having fun.

 510 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.79/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of cards22
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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.

 918 characters

Photo of MasonBeerMan
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Came here last August with my wife for our anniversary trip to a brewery. Stopped here for lunch before heading to Founders for dinner. Very nice looking place, it was very nice out, so we sat outside. Sat at a comfortable couch and sipped some top notch brew. There were so many beers to choose from that we just had a couple of samplers. The staff was very knowledgable about the beers. It seems like they had drank most of them. The food was decent, nothing special. I was able have a nice cigar out there too. Great experience and will be back there for the Winter Beer Fest.

 579 characters

Photo of jim102864
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

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.

 1,797 characters

Photo of willygreen
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

I stopped in at Hopcat prior to heading over to Founders for their KBS release party. The beer selection was phenomenal.

My only complaint was that their beer menu was missing some of their taps. I discovered a table tent with additional beers on it and then found out they still had beers on tap that were missing. How do you find out what these mystery beers are? They really need a system that makes it easy to read what all of their taps are.

This place is unbelievable. I had a dogfish 60 minute and a harpoon ipa, both really good and my first time on draft. Also tried a Hobgoblin (good English bitter) a great session beer.

The place was packed and the bartenders were still very attentive; the service was fast and friendly. I tried an appetizer and it is just average--typical Gordon Food Service or Sysco stuff.

 825 characters

Photo of JeffONeal
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of frampin
4.8/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Extensive bottle selection, although a bit pricey, there are a few rare gems, i.e 6 of the Short's Imperial series. A bit of a mark up at $45.00 a piece, though. Exceptional tap selection with pretty good variety, depending on the month/season. The opportunity to try Rodenbach Grand Cru, La Trappe Quad, and Ola Dubh 30 Year on tap is worth seeking this place out, in my opinion. Food is good, but nothing to write home about. All in all, this place is easily the best beer bar in Michigan, aside from Ashley's, but the atmosphere of HopCat trumps Ashley's easily.

 565 characters

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

Did a brewery tour of southern/western Michigan and, in between hitting Founders etc, had to make a stop at HopCat based on the stellar reviews from Beeradvocate. Have to say, the reviews were right on. Stellar selection of brews, with lots of local represenation. Good, because that is what we were there for...try the stuff we can't get at home. Service was great and Tyler (our server) was very helpful and attentive, but didn't hover. Definitely a place worth any beer lovers' time. It was packed on a Saturday evening, but that was to be expected.

 552 characters

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

My brother and I tried this on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't very busy. The building is very cool - old, refurbished, tons of wood. We were given a simple, large, laminated menu - beer on one side, food on the other. The selection of brews on tap is deep and broad, with lots of Michigan beers, American beers, and international beers too. Their website also lists a huge stash of bottles that they have available. It was hard to decide what to get. Everything is high quality, except their one "lawnmowing" offering, which they basically acknowledge is not up to the standards of everything else. The staff was friendly, and knowledgeable enough when we needed them to be. I'd like to try the food someday too. I'll definitely return sometime.

 744 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
4.81/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of malty
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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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!

 1,886 characters

Photo of northernbrews
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

 961 characters

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

I am from Grand Rapids, and this is one of my favorite places. I often go multiple times a week. The atmosphere is really neat with a very large bar and great artwork all around. Usually quite busy, except maybe early in the week, but always a few people in.

The service is very good, and the bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable. I have been able to make some serious small-talk with some of the staff. When it's super busy later in the week at night it can take a little bit to order, but never terribly long.

The selection is extremely good with 48 taps, the most in the area, and they are constantly getting new beers cycling through to the point the menu is updated weekly. Lots of bottles as well.

For food, they have burgers, a number of different sandwiches and a couple larger plates. All the items I have tried have been delicious. Try the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork and Cheese Ale Soup!

Lastly, all of this comes at a fairly reasonable price given the quality.

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

What more can you say about this place. Great tap selections and great bottle list. The staff here are friendly and if you have a question they don't know they will ask someone who does. The food here is just amazing. Everyone knows the crack fries are awesome. The burgers are just as great, the best burgers around. They have a cheese ale soup which must be tried. I can easily see why this is one of the best beer bars in the country. On the weekends during the busy hours the service can be slow, but that is to be expected. Mark has done a fantastic job making this place shine. This is a must stop place when you come to Michigan.

 636 characters

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

Rock solid bar. Food was spectacular, not your standard fired bar food in the least. Selection was a good 25+ beers on tap as well as a huge to go selection. Staff was very friendly and knowledgable. Steve is the man, hooked it up, that's all I can say.

The atmosphere is very chill with some tvs to watch your sports and plenty of tables and bar space.

Next time I'm in town to hit up Founders, Hopcat will make the must stop list. Check it out, you won't be disappointed! Unless you hate craft beer and a full stomach.

 524 characters

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

The husband and I had a great night at Hopcat. We were in town for the Founders KBS release the following day. If you are in western Michigan NOT going to Hopcat is cardinal beer sin.
We were lucky to get a booth in the back of the restaurant, better for people watching.
We started with "nachos" that instead of corn chips had fried potato chips. Very tasty. And the "crack fries". This was based on a recommendation from the hotel we stayed at. The fries were tasty but I really liked the nachos.
I can not say enough about the beer list. Pace yourself!!! I was so excited about the beers I did over indulge. I drank a sample of all the IPAs on draft. I don't know what I was thinking. I was completely overwhelmed by the selection available. In NC we get a very limited selection so perusing this menu was a treat.
Back to the food....I had a great sandwich and had a hard time deciding on which one because they all sounded interesting. But my husbands entree was the best thing I have had in awhile. Let me state for the record, I don't like junk food and I am not a big meat eater. My husband got the Mac and Cheese. Trevor, our waiter who was the best waiter we have encountered in awhile, recommended trying it with sloppy Joe's on top. It has been 3 days and I am still thinking about it. OMG!!! this was the best stuff! Creamy with savory meat and some crunch from breadcrumbs perhaps? I helped my husband finish off his entree, I couldn't stop eating the stuff.
We were treated to a tour by Tim, I thought when he opened the doors to show us the beer they store you could angels sing. Then again I had a few IPAs by this time. We had a very memorable evening thanks to Tim and Trevor's excellent service and recommendations.
I am looking forward to returning to MI next year, pacing myself on the beer at Hopcat and eating my own dish of mac and cheese.

 1,865 characters

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.

 1,053 characters

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

Been chatting with Garry (Gboyd) here for a while, since I moved to MI and knew no BA's. He welcomed me and encouraged me to stop down and see his place. After 4 months of living here, I finally made the trip, and it was worth it.

A-A beer drinkers bar. Multiple tap stands with some of the greatest beers ever crafted. Nice hippie/yuppie feel (sorry that offends, I think it is a plus!). Wood and art, with a little music in the background.

Q-Beer is top notch, everything as promised. 40+ taps, and the liquor/spirits folks are not left behind.

S-Good service. Met at the bar by a nice guy. I have to say I got all of his attention...not in a flirting way, but in the way like you are the only one at the bar....because I was. HA. Made sure I had everything I needed.

S-What is there to say? They have everything MI and then some. Firkin Fridays, beers that are a little hard to come by, even in MI (Shorts and Kuhnhenn's). Bottles available but I didn't see a list for them, it was all I could see leaning over the bar.

F-Had a good pork sandwich. It was much better than I expected which leads me to believe that they take pride in their food as well.

V-Had a Double Dead Guy, Pork Sandwich with fries, and a growler of Shorts Huma Lupa for about $30. What I expected to pay...but be sure to bring your own growler (or buy one of theirs and reuse it til the amber wears off the glass).

I can't wait to go back, hopefully for one of the Sunday Dinner/Movie nights. Cheers to Garry and his whole staff.

 1,513 characters

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

What a breath of fresh air for Grand Rapids. We have so many great breweries here in Michigan but before now there was no great place to buy a good variety of their great brews in one place. The atmosphere there is top notch. With a great bar, interesting decorations, a variety of seating options, tons of beer and a smoke free atmosphere, this place is lacking in little. My only problem with the place is that it was so well done that it is near impossible to get a seat there on a Friday or Saturday night.

 510 characters

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.

 1,745 characters

Photo of lurpy1
4.84/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I was there for 30 minutes after the Bolt Cutter release, and all I can say is "oh my fucking god". The place hits all the right notes for a relaxed pub. The barkeeps are friendly, prompt, and know their stuff. Then there is the beer list. Mind blowing in its expansiveness. They are getting ready for a Wood and Wild fest which has a list that will break your heart if you're not going. Being not hungry at all, I did not eat. However, the guy next to me ordered the vaunted crack fries, and based on smell, that name is by no means an exaggeration.

It is a shame I was not able to linger. Best bar I've ever been in.

 619 characters

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 257 ratings
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