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HopCat

Your Rating: None
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
260 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:
49
Reviews:
76
Ratings:
260
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.52/5
Reviews:
201
Ratings:
403
pDev:
9.73%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 403 |  Reviews: 201
Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Beer. You like beer, right? Well, they've got it. If you live in Michigan, Kentucky, or Indiana, you've probably noticed you have a shiny new HopCat in your local college town. The OG spot in Grand Rapids is a little cooler than the regular bar HopCats, only because they brew their own beer there. So you have a few of their handmade goodies right next to all those taps of amazing beer in one spot. The old feel to the bar is an added bonus. It's busy, Really, really busy but I suggest going just to drink and get food later. It's just easier to snag a seat at the bar. You want to embrace all that beer. The bartenders are some of the most knowledgeable you'll find. Craft beer heaven.

 689 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.48/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Canada_Dan
4.29/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of akorsak
4.18/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Visited following dinner at Founders. The end of Day 1 of the Michigan tour.

Atmosphere: The bar is great, long and wooden with multiple tap line-ups. There appeared to be outdoor seating, although we settled down inside.

Quality: Two of the first three beers ordered were either freshly kicked or on yet on tap, a bad start to the night. I didn't leave the table, so I can't comment on anything else.

Service: We had a good time with our waitress. She was especially understanding when both JP beers that we ordered were kicked or still on deck. She recommended replacements and chatted us up.

Selection: Wow. A focus on Michigan but still too much good stuff. I wish that I had been here earlier, as I was just too waterlogged to dig into the taplist.

Food: Didn't eat.

 776 characters

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

Visited a couple of times on a recent beer trip to Grand Rapids.

Really great atmosphere, 50 beers on tap, a large bottle selection and friendly service.

I was a little bit puzzled by their lack of Michigan beer on tap - they seemed to have one from each of the big breweries but a complete lack of Bell's (and Hopslam is in season), only 1 Dark Horse & 1 Shorts beer were on tap. The overall mix was pretty good, keeping in mind that about 10 of the taps were Hop Cat house brews.

Over my two visits I tried about 6 or 7 different beers.

The food here is great! They have a number of appetizers that are amazing, including some of the best chicken wings that I have ever had.

I will return here some time soon for sure.

 730 characters

Photo of mynie
4.46/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I had no idea Grand Rapids was so big: The CSA has about a million and a half people, making it just a tick small than Indianapolis. Shouldn't they have a sports team or something? I'm sure Western Michigan is a fine institution, but their football team isn't FBS and therefore their school doesn't count as being real.

The downtown area is weird. It is large, it is filled with people and things, but because of arbitrary cultural prejudices, it also feels illegitimate. There's no Wrigley Field moment, where the first time you see a Grand Rapids landmark you go "whoa, there's X!" So even though I'd heard of Hopcat, I nearly walked right past it when I saw it.

Likewise, I was not immediately impressed with the place, even though I should have been. The bar stretched on forever, and there were literally a billion taps (my math might be off here).

We sat down and were handed laminated beer menus. My companion is new to the beer travelin' scene so I explained to her how these menus ain't always the best thing, since they get so quickly out of date. Then she goes "that's probably why they have that," and pointed toward a kickass chalkboard that had two columns on it. One column said "RUNNING OUT." The other "WILL BE REPLACED BY." That's awesome, and it made me start paying attention.

The menu was organized by style, not by brand or in alphabetical order. A pithy description of each beer was given, including style, ABV, IBU, and a line or two listing off its more salient characteristics. A list like that takes time to make.

The taps included a wide range of locals, midwestern/great lakes staples, interesting Belgian and Scandinavian imports, and a hearty selection of rares and one-offs from all around the globe. There was a beer for every mood and all of its was good.

The vibe was friendly, but a little Grand Rapidsy. I don't know how to describe it: we were certainly welcomed, but I couldn't figure out the pulse of the place well enough to really ingratiate myself into it. Still, the crowd was older and polite--there were no undergrads, no people in business suits, and no screaming drunkards. That's pretty good.

A definite must-stop.

 2,175 characters

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.29/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

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

Photo of Bung
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I remember this place being the Sierra Room, a wine joint. What an improvement this place has become. Too bad this wasn't around when I actually lived near GR.
Nice woody interior, like many downtown GR bars. Place for a band near the entrance windows. Porch outside is nice, for 4 months of the year. Upstairs smoking lounge is a real nice touch and does seem to keep the smoke out of the rest of the establishment.
Definetely have not seen a better beer selection, a few maybe equal, but none better. Good selection and variety and plenty of local brews. Shorts being the treat for me. The Hopcat brand stout was not bad either, just not quite as good as the Chocolate Wheat from Shorts. Vintage stuff seemed a bit pricey, but I've never understood the "cost" of keeping something in a cellar. For a restaurant I suppose there could be some, but the basement is there whether they use it or not, it's not like it is an extra cost. Anyways, this is far and away the best place to stop in GR. If you don't want to come downtown, try Logans Alley or Graydons, but you might as well come the rest of the way.

Another kudos, Hopcat was kind enough to politely explain the cost for a business to keep a cellar, which makes absolute sense in that it ties up money. I was more caught up in some BA's thinking their $15 dollar beer is now worth 2 of my $10 beers because you kept it in your basement, but I digress.

 1,409 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.27/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of mattmarka1
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of spointon
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.23/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of BeerOps
4.1/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Photo of mklisz
4.01/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of italianstallion
4.24/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of Kegatron
4.19/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of beerwolf77
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Another must stop during the GR tour.

Nice old school bar feel and look to this place. Killer art on the walls and specialty bottles lined up behind the bar. Long bar and plenty of booths and tables for eating. The place was packed from the moment we got there but it never felt too busy.

The selection is where this place shines. Took us a solid 10 minutes to decide. They have something for every beer geek on the menu. The server was quick and helpful with picking out beers.

The beer cheese soup was recommended highly so I ordered that for dinner. It was as delicious as advertised.

Overall a superb place for dinner and a beer. I will be stopping back every time I'm in town.

 688 characters

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

What a fantastic bar. Easily one of the best I've ever been to. It's a tall space that's semi-formal yet warm. Non smoking is a huge plus. Nice big wooden bar, with a custom-made triple arch backing on the wall. The nearly 50 taps are grouped along the bar, right in front of customers. The selection is heavy on Michigan microbrews, with some unique and rare-ish offerings. In fact, they pretty much convinced Dark Horse to brew some Thirsty Trout Baltic Porter, and then bought all of the kegs. Plenty of other American brews, and a good Belgian selection. Tons of bottles to choose from as well. Probably the best selection in Michigan, and a great place to go for out-of-staters to try stuff from Bells, Shorts, New Holland, Dark Horse, Arcadia, etc etc. Plus they have a weekly firkin! I had some of the crack fries (fantastic) but didn't eat a meal, so I wont rate the food.

The employees are incredible. The bartenders all really know what they're talking about, and plenty of beerversation takes place. The owners were chatting with people at the bar, discussing beer festivals and breweries, recommending beers and at one point even buying an Achel trappist bottle for us. The people make the place.

 1,209 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Wow...I read about how good this place is and had a friend of a friend tell us how great this place is...after I told them to tell her to go here. Could it live up to the hype...well, in short, Hell Yeah!

What a place inside..certainly one of the classiest beer bars I have ever seen. Beautiful wooden accents with a gorgeous bar and table area.

With 48 taps, half devoted to MI micros, and 2 engines what more could you ask for...oh well, like a few hundred bottles too! If you come here and leave unsatisfied you are jaded and picky indeed! Plus they get brewery exclusives, like the Arcadia west coast rye IPA that was AWESOME! Like if that weren't enough they will soon have their very own in house microbrewery up and running with Hopcat created brews flowing too! Geesh!

Not only did we have solid service from Cheryl, who was sporting a BA T-shirt, we got to chat with Garry, a.k.a. The ring leader but also had a breif intro to Mark Sellers, the owner of this fine establishment.

Not much food consumed, we got real smart at breakfast at our Holiday Inn express, but we had to have the Crack Fries after being told how damn good they are. Well, they are good, especially with the cheese dipping sauce! I am looking forward to coming back here and enjoying a full meal.

The Hopcat...if you EVER find yourself in GR you would be making a HUGE mistake by not visiting this place. This is place is the bomb-diggity! Plus, Founders is but a stones throw away...one of the best one-two beer combos around!

Edit:One day after my review I get a personal beermail from Mark Sellers thanking me for my review and to make sure I get in touch with him the next time we make the trip to GR. Nice touch! Thank you Mark, keep up the good work!

 1,743 characters

Photo of fredmugs
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

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.

 460 characters

Photo of midlifec
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 260 ratings
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