When you’ve been rated the #3 Beer Bar on the Planet by Beer Advocate Magazine, and have an overall perfect BA score of 100 (world-class), you’re definitely onto something. But when you also serve up some of the best bar food in Grand Rapids, you have a winner.
Hopcat features more than three dozen craft beers on draft from Michigan and around the world along with 150 more by the bottle. The microbrewery’s own concoctions include the Handy Ranch Man, Naughty Nicodemus, and the Panthro with a stiff 11.0% ABV. The beer list changes regularly and current specials are written by hand on a giant chalkboard across from the bar.
In addition to the vast beer selection, a substantial food menu includes burgers, sandwiches, wings, salads and wraps. The Dam Good Fish Sandwich is as good as the name implies, the Killer Mac & Cheese is perfect with jalapeno and those looking to consume a few less calories can’t go wrong with the Rosemary Chicken Salad Wrap. The ice cream sandwiches are also unique; each month, Hopcat features a new alcohol-infused ice cream stuffed between two cookies from Nantucket Baking Co.
Hopcat’s real claim to culinary fame, though, are the crack fries. The seasoned beer-battered fries are seriously addictive without any toppings, but you can order them “Super Deluxe Loaded” with cheese, onions, bacon, jalapenos and chili. Each January, Hopcat celebrates its anniversary with the Crack Fry Eating Contest, a competition to see who can eat the most fries in five minutes. (If you’re thinking “sounds easy”, the 2013 winner shoveled down 1 pound, 9.4 oz).
Often during the fall and winter, Hopcat hosts multi-course beer dinners that pair craft brews with specials prepared by the chef. It’s a great way to sample the many flavors coming out of the microbrewery and the kitchen.
But really no meal here would be complete without the crack fries. Even if you can’t polish off more of them than a competitive eater, they’re tasty enough that you’ll be craving for more.
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25 Ionia Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503