Founders Brewing Company
Ratings: 620 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by CortexBomb:
4.03/5 rDev -11.6%
Most of the old review still applied to new Founders, so I haven't removed it, just scroll down. The new building is located downtown a few blocks from the old one, and is a long, flat facility. The biggest difference now is scale: there are numerous bartenders, many more tables, the bar is gargantuan, &c. They also serve food on a more dedicated scale (i.e.: the pay window ala Bell's) and have outside seating, which will be nice during the warmer months.
There are things brought over from the old building, which I appreciated. The chalk boards showing the brews, the peanuts / pretzels sign, and the stained glass of the pints are all incorporated into the new bar. You can still throw peanut shucks on the ground.
Basically, it's new Founders. I still will stop by when I'm in the Grand Rapids area, but I feel that something was lost in the transition to the new facility. They still brew great beer, the staff is still friendly, but everything is on a larger, more impersonal scale. Old Founders felt like that neighbourhood place where you could stop in and see your friends, and the sheer scale of the new facility makes me feel like that is going to be hard to recapture.
I wish them well though, and I hope they can elbow into the MI market the same way Bell's has, they certainly deserve it.
(Old Founders...in the Brassworks)
Founders operates an ale house downtown GR where one can pick up whatever is currently available in bottles, or get a fresh pint or growler right out of the tap.
The ale house is located in the bottom of the large industrial warehouse style building that also houses the brewery, some of which is visible through large glass windows in the tap room.
Inside the tap room things are dimly lit. Several tables are scattered around and there is a small bar, a fridge with some bottles, and a pool table. It's bare bones, but it fits my idea of an ale house: no frills, just beer, conversation and billiards. The "throw your peanut shucks on the ground" convention is also excellent, and really adds to the throwback feel of the taproom. (Legacy note: Old Founders is my 5.0 atmosphere rating, I judge all other bars by the vibe this place had: small, intimate, great beer, not polished but not dirty either.)
There are always a handful of brews on tap, amongst them their seasonals as well as other stand-bys such as Breakfast Stout and so forth and special, tap room only offerings.
For sitting down and having a beer, the service is great. The servers were quick to help us, and more than happy to dole out samples and water as we needed them along the way. I previously bought a couple of growlers from them, and was mildly dissatisfied with their lack of bags to put them in, but I saw some growlers going out sealed up from daylight in boxes recently, so perhaps that is no longer an issue. Overall service was quite good though.
In terms of value, the place is decent, but a little higher than you might expect. Regular offerings, up to and including Dirty Bastard, are 3.50$ for an American pint. The more esoteric special offerings such as the old ales or the special Belgian Razz they have right now are more (more like 4-5$ per snifter). For a bar the prices are quite good, particularly on the heavier, more flavourful offerings, but they seem a little higher than the average micro tap room.
Basically, this is a great place to stop by if you want to go to an old style bar and have some high quality beer in the process. Absolutely not the kind of place where many mainstream sports bar types will feel at home though, and not nearly as over the top as Bell's Eccentric down in Kazoo....but also much more laid back and genuine feeling.
08-02-2005 22:19:28 | More by CortexBomb
More User Reviews:
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.