Monday, August 18, 2014

130 Indiana Beers! HopCat's grand opening

HopCat Broad Ripple has come a long way since we checked out the building progress in June. This Saturday marked their grand opening, and what better way to join Indy's craft beer scene than by putting 130 different Indiana beers on tap?

 For anyone who may have missed the announcement, HopCat is the newest beer bar in Broad Ripple. Indy is the first location outside of their home state of Michigan and we couldn't be prouder to have them.

HopCat also had a deal where the first 200 people who showed up got free "crack fries" for a year. That's 52 orders of their delicious seasoned french fries over the next year. As a big fan of french fries, and an even bigger fan of Indiana beer, I dragged Brie to get in line at nine in the morning. I've waited in line for beer releases and I've waited in line for events. I have never waited in line for a bar opening.

We arrived two hours early and we were more than one hundred people back in line. When we got there we found out two guys go to the entrance at 3:30 in the morning and literally rolled out sleeping bags and slept in line. The two hours we sat in the rain sharing beers with line goers was nothing. In the end it was all worth while when I got my card for free crack fries for a year! It says a lot about a bar that people get so excited to form a line as long as HopCat had.


When we got through the door, it was like when Charlie first got into the chocolate factory. HopCat was bigger than I expected, with two bars, tons of seating and an awesome patio. Sadly, it was raining, so no one was using the patio. Even with the rain they opened the doors and we got a table with a view. The rock star decor and the insane beer geek atmosphere made it kind of like sitting in on a Rolling Stones party. There is custom artwork on the walls and the bar has a great mash up of modern and traditional decor, while still being warm and inviting.


Four of us made it through about sixteen beers, passing them around and trying a little bit of everything. Sun King and Upland brought the mother load with thirty beers each. Sun King dominated with its Kings Reserve and barrel aged brews. My favorite from them was the Cuvee de Sun King, a lightly sour dark cuvee and the Isle Barrel Aged Wee Muckle, their Wee Muckle aged in scotch whiskey barrels. Other awesome brews, were Triton's French Toast Saison, and Three Floyd's Big Tiddy Assassin and the Upland Pineapple IPA.

There were so many beers that I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I would have loved to drink the entire list. I'm excited to see how long some of these great Indiana beers last on draft, and I know I will be stopping in this week to get whatever left overs they have. If you weren't able to go to the release, go soon! This is probably more Indiana beer options than we have at most festivals and I would be sad if anyone missed it.

Now, all these great Indiana beers won't be there all the time, but the food will and the food was outstanding. I got a pretzel breaded pork tenderloin. That's not a tenderloin on a pretzel bun, that's a tenderloin breaded with pretzel crumbs. The pretel crumbs gave it a really dark color, that almost looked burnt, but it was not even close. The pork was juicy inside and the pretzel really gave it a unique flavor and a crispy outside. The beer cheese soup was insanely good. It was so rich, that it was probably more like a cheese dip then a soup.

On top of all that, the crack fries were pretty outstanding. Their crack fries are a lightly spicy seasoned french fry. They are awesome standard but can be loaded and topped with some great options. Brie got her go to, mac and cheese, and was happy about the gooey cheese and noodles. Everyone at our table really liked the food and for as busy as they were the service wasn't bad. You'd think with a horde of beer geeks banging down your doors nothing would get done, but we were seated, fed and on our way home in less than three hours.

This is quickly going to be one of my favorite spots to do some drinking and some eating.

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