Grand Rapids - There's a new place where you can go to try out a wide variety of Michigan brews in downtown Grand Rapids. HopCat will officially open in the former Sierra Room Saturday afternoon. It's a beer bar featuring 48 beers on tap and 150 bottled beers, including a wide variety of Michigan microbrews.
HopCat owner Mark Sellers is a Grand Rapids native and former musician who spent 15 years in Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles before returning to West Michigan. He says he got the idea of opening up a "beer bar" based on seeing similar bars throughout the country and in Europe. Sellers says most "beer bars" are generally in big cities, but hopes he'll find success here in Grand Rapids. Sellers says, "The downtown, since I grew up here and moved away in 1993, has changed dramatically. And it's now viable to have a business like this down here because enough people are coming downtown every night."
Sellers also points out that West Michigan is quickly becoming known as known as one of the hot spots for microbrewed beer in the country. "It used to be the west coast, Portland, Seattle area and northern California was really the hot spot. That's still true, but now Michigan is being called the new west coast. And there are people that actually come to west Michigan to go on brewery tours," says Sellers.
Along with drinks, you can have a full meal and even watch monthly guest brewers in hopcat's on-site mini-brewery. The first floor is a non-smoking area, but there's a smoking lounge upstairs.
Grand opening festivities start at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Jennifer Pascua, Morning Reporter