HopCat

BEER AVG
3.86/5
HopCatHopCat
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

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:
45
Ratings:
250
Reviews:
72
PLACE STATS
Score:
99
Ratings:
399
Reviews:
199
Avg:
4.51
pDev:
6.21%
 
 
Taps:
48
Bottles/Cans:
150
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 399 |  Reviews: 199
Photo of mobius387
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped here for dinner and drinks one night on a road trip through western Michigan. This was undoubtedly the highlight of a trip filled with awesome breweries and brew pubs! Service is just flat out awesome. The people who work at this place go out of their way to make sure you get the most out of the beer they serve. Food was really good too. Atmosphere is very unique and the whole place seems centered around the bar which is perfect for a place that is known for their great beer. Some of the beer is a bit pricey, but considering that you can't find most of these beers on tap anywhere else, its understandable.

Overall, this was where we spent the most time at one place on our trip, and it was because this place is a fantastic place to drink beer and relax. Thanks HopCat! Can't wait to return

 806 characters

Photo of kylelenk
2.83/5  rDev -37.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Residing in GR I am fortunate to be able to frequent HopCat quite often. Being a regular, I've come to realize there is much needed for the bar to live up to it's reputation.

Atmosphere is decent but is always overcrowded. You're giving a multitude of different seating arrangements which can be either booths, couches (upstairs), picnic tables, or traditional seating. The bar looks quite dusty but my recommendation is to always sit at the bar...no matter what...as the bartenders are the only experienced staff in the establishment.

The service is obviously the Achille's Heel as the waitstaff are undertrained and unbelievably slow. I've walked in at 12:30AM with almost nobody in the bar and it has taken more than 15 minutes for a waitstaff member to come over. Additionally, I've had waitstaff confuse nitro beers with firkins...not something to expect with being named the 3rd best beer bar in the world.

HopCat has an outstanding collection if you're from out of town but often seems to cycle through beers if you're familiar enough with the establishment. Their bottle selection is quite a gem as they don't distribute menus unless you request. I was able to find some Mikeller even though it has sense stopped being distributed in the GR area.

People may rave about the Crack Fries, which are amazing, but the burgers seem to be quite generic (Sysco). Stella's across the street has hand formed burgers that come stuffed at the same price point...which is embarrassing concerning both restaurants share the same ownership.

I will say that HopCat throws some awesome parties. Their Wood and Wild Ale Fest last year brought some true whales to tap. Additionally, they throw parties when breweries enter the distro market and offer a chance to find some rarer beers.

Value is reasonable. Their specials often carry unreasonable stipulations like the $6 burger and beer combo being limited (last time) to a New Holland Kolsch despite the fact it carried the same price point as some of their own pub beers.

All in all I compare HopCat to DisneyWorld...Fun to take people when they're from out of town but you can see right through all of it's shortcomings. If they can't fix the service, at least fix the website as the taplist is sometimes months out of date...something in this day in age should be always synced.

 2,335 characters

Photo of boatmich
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Supergenious
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of BoyDrinksWorld
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

HopCat is my favorite brewpub and they have fantastic food to match their impressive beer list. Crack fries are a must, but you cannot miss on this menu - I personally recommend the Sloppy Joe's. Best place to be to enjoy a worldwide variety of beer in Grand Rapids.

 266 characters

Photo of BigTuna1066
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of hopnado
4.4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of PhilsPils
3.87/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

A very good selection of Michigan beers in addition to worldwide offerings. I had heard so much about it before I came that it was hard to not be a little disappointed but make no mistake, it's a fine beer bar. I had a Shorts beer that underwhelmed me some...probably colored my whole experience a bit. I didn't eat but my family members that did said it was excellent.

 372 characters

Photo of rixport
3.45/5  rDev -23.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4

Went in with some friends from Grand Rapids while I was home on vacation. I was very interested in going to the number 3 rated beer bar as I'm a regular customer at the number 1 rated. The selection of beer was very good, but nothing really unusual. A lot of local and regional micros on tap. After fairly good service from our bartender for the first round, we all ordered a 2nd round. My friend Rick and I both got a Weissbier. Mine smelled like a swimming pool, Ricks smelled like a Weissbier. After waiting for our bartender to quit chatting it up with his friends, I finally gave up. By that time, we decided to go over to Founders which we should have done in the first place. My numbers are going to indicate a better score than I would give this pub, but I feel my responses are accurate.

 796 characters

Photo of ElizabethCraig
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Hopcat, how I love thee!

My husband and I went there two days in a row when we visited Grand Rapids. "Bob" help us if we lived there, it would be our regular haunt.

A beautiful place, with lots of dark wood, but not so dark that it feels cave-like. There's quite a few tables, a nice decent sized bar and a standup bar rail in case the place is busy.

Late night the place was pretty hopping, we had a table near the window and each had a beer. The waiter was very helpful with beer selection and was happy to make recommendations and even bring out a few samples. Extremely kind, good service - I regret that we missed their kitchen hours that night.

We returned the next day and happily the gentleman at the bar (edited to add: Steve) was their beer purchaser! Happy day!!

We talked about a Detroit area brewery while I sampled some of their beers on tap (we will definitely visit them soon, great beers!), they sampled out a sour stout from Jolly Pumpkin that was so absolutely wonderful that we brought back a growler of it (we shared it with some local friends and spread the Jolly Pumpkin love), and we got to sample their crack fries (they are, by the way, addictive).

The service was stellar, the beers were excellent (both their own, and their draft beers), the atmosphere is very elegant, but casual.

Locals were eating lunch at the end of the bar, I like seeing local peeps eating at a bar - usually it means a good value and good food.

To sum it up, if you're in Grand Rapids go here!

 1,506 characters

Photo of HopsMatt
4.94/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I recently stopped here while in Grand Rapids on a brewery tour. Our last stop was Founders, and although the food was great, the selection that was on tap was just so-so and the crowd and horrible band just killed it for us. Coming off of that negative experience, we decided to walk the three blocks to HopCat as I had been pointed to by other BA members. Man am I glad we did!

Our wait time was only about 15 minutes, and on a Saturday night! The bar is spacious enough and very comfortable. We were seated at the corner booth back by the jukebox. I cant remember the name of the waitress but she was the best! I really wish I could remember her name so I could give her props! Never had an empty glass and always helped us pick out our next bottle to open up!

We ended up spending probably over two hours there. The music was really good. It was as if they tapped into my ipod. We made our way through some Aww Jeah, Black Cherry Porter, Freedom of '78, other various stouts and a bottle of B. Nektar Cherry Chipotle. We also had a few house brews. We didnt have any food as we had filled ourselves up earlier, but we were thinking hard about some of those crack fries!

I honestly cant wait to go back up to Grand Rapids so that we can stop by HopCat. Out of all the breweries we visited and all the places we went, this was our favorite and for me personally, held the most memorable part of the trip. I will return.

 1,424 characters

Photo of sloppymoose
4.88/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is great. Let me start with the negative. Some of the individual bottles are extremely pricey. more than double the cost of what you can get at a beer store around town. The price is really the only negative. atmosphere is very cozy and the outside patio is outstanding. they have plush couches. they have 5 or so shorts beers on tap which is the most i've seen anywhere besides the brewery. michigan beers are very well represented here. the service was great, barely had to wait, and the selection was, as rated, world class. only selection complaint i have is that there's only one firkin/cask. for an establishment of this caliber, an additional cask is a must. other than that, you must go if you have enough money.

 731 characters

Photo of Ktown67
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great beer bar. I was in town with some friends for Founders KBS Release Party and we decided to stop at the Hopcat for a beer and ended up staying for a session (6 hours).

Garry (GM) and his bartenders are very knowledgable and great hosts. The tap beer selection is nice (20+ of the 48 taps are MI brews) and the bottle book has some gems. I think I tried just about every Jolly Pumpkin they had. They brew their own beer and it too was solid. especially seeing they had only been brewing for a month or so.

A must stop for any beer lover traveling through Michigan.

 570 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I frequent this place from time to time when in need of a good beer night out. The selection of beer is excellent and I've never had a problem with the service. If you are looking for a bite to eat, I recommend the macaroni and cheese...add some chicken and jalapenos and you will be happy!
One of the greatest features at HopCat is the reasonable pricing of local beers. If you are on a budget crunch, you can always count on getting a quality Michigan brew for not a lot of coin.
During local playoffs, you may be lucky enough to view your favorite team on a screen the size of a small house.

 596 characters

Photo of chuckv
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of BlueAndBrew
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of SarahH0409
4.98/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of FURIOGUINTA
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

what a great looking corner bar. it's only two minute drive from Founder's. i was impressed with the decor, upon entering the door. my friends and i bellied right up to the bar and looked over the impressive beer list. what a great collection of Michigan brews, including Short's, which was fantastic. i was in town to hit a few spots and catch a Mustard Plug concert. as i sat and enjoyed a couple pints, the guys from Mustard Plug (local ska-punk heroes) came in and went to a private drinking area. if local celebrities hang here, it must be good, right? ;) (of all the places in town to hit, i managed a second visit after the show.) i met and spoke with one of the owners, Michele. we had a great chat about FFF (as i was sporting one of their shirts) and she recommended The Hideout to me. she was awesome! service was fine, if a bit inattentive. i can overlook that being that it was a Friday and business was booming. i will definitely be back and plan on trying the food, as what i saw others eating looked fantastic. i will also be prepared with a cooler so i can take a few growlers to go. if you are anywhere near Grand Rapids you owe it to yourself to visit this place!

 1,182 characters

Photo of regeimbk
4.65/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had an odd run-in here with a homeless man who asked me and my girlfriend if we wanted to be in his movie and sat on top of our stuff so he could sit in our booth. However, as soon as customers complained, the man was kicked out.

The food here really is good. I've never had any complaints about it. The fish and chips is delish. Burgers are awesome. Steak is yummy. They have "crack fries" which I wouldn't call addictive, but they are good, especially when dipped in their cheese sauce. Whoever is cooking back there is doing their job.

Beer selection is awesome--duh.

Can be hard to find a table in there some nights, especially in the winter when their outdoor patio isn't open. When we were there, there wasn't a bike rack (not sure if there is one now), so we chained our bikes to a street sign. When we were getting ready to leave, a cop car pulled up beside our bikes and sat there for what felt like fifteen minutes. We had heard stories of cops ticketing bikers for locking their bikes to signs so we had to wait it out. Then we crunk road it.

 1,056 characters

Photo of atpben
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place came highly recommended by my friends and on the BA forums. I gotta say off the bat. This is the best beer bar I have ever been to. Great atmosphere as soon as you enter the establishment. High ceilings with lots of sitting room inside and outside. There is a great smoking lounge upstairs wich I loved since I do smoke occasionaly. And of course the selection was awesome. All the great Michigan beers were respresented quite well there. I first had the Reissdorf kolsch which was on tap. I had the pleaser of meeting and speaking with Garry Boyd - Ringleader. Great guy and he was nice enough to share some bottles from the inside with me. The Stone-Nogne O collaboration beer and two other beers from Dieu Du Ciel both excellent. I had a great time there. I would also like to thank Brett the brewer, Corey our bartneder and Mark the owner. Great bunch of guys and they better believe it that I will be back next time I'm in GRR. And I would definately will be telling all my friends about it. A+ all way.

 1,019 characters

Photo of RockerD
4.7/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What a cool place. Finally got to go last night. Nice location right downtown. Place was jam packed with 20 somethings. I felt a tad old at a meager 34 years old. Very large bar area where there are different tap stations. Amazing local Michigan beer tap selection. No Michigan brewery is snubbed here. It seemed that 60% of their taps were local. The decor is great, lots of stuff to look at.

We had the pretzel as an appetizer which was very good. It came with a white liquid cheese and horseradish mustard. For dinner we had the veggie burrito which was amazing and I highly recommend it!

Got a personal tour from C.B.G.- Steve Smith which made the experience that much greater. This is a must destination for any beer connoisseur!!

 739 characters

Photo of b3shine
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I can't say enough good about this place! It's AMAZING!!! Everything exceeded our expectations! The food was outstanding, especially for the price! Generous servings too! The wings are a must-try! The staff is super! I wore in a 3 Floyds t-shirt, and Steve, the beer ordered (and I think brewer) complimented me on it. Not long after, he brought my wife and I over an unnamed rare beer (I don't want to get them into any trouble) that was FANTASTIC, and told us I won the "beer gear of the day award." They made customers out of us for life! And oh yeah, the beer... Outstanding esoteric selection complemented by a small but excellent selection of in-house brewed libations. We used to live in the area, bur moved away a little over 3 years ago, and they've been open slightly after we moved. I will now come here every time we come home, as my wife and I both LOVED it! Do yourself a favor and stop in. It's fantastic, and the value is great too!

 948 characters

Photo of Labonix
4.45/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is a must if you're ever in Grand Rapids. They have a huge selection of beers to choose from both bottle and on tap. I liked how they had the beer menu set up. The beers were split up into differnt catagories based on the style of beer. The bartenders do a nice job with the service even though they have a full bar to tend. The food here was really good and it wasn't too pricey. It wasn't a long wait for my food after I placed my order. I would actually say that this place is worth a 30min or so wait for a seat.

 521 characters

Photo of Borgs
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of TravisShaneRedden
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
3.86 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe