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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
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BEER AVG
3.91/5
Based on:
104 Beers
120,707 Hads
Place Score: 97
Reviews: 295
Visits: 988
Avg: 4.4
pDev: n/a
Taps: 18
Bottles: 7
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

235 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503
United States
phone: (616) 776-1195 | map
www.foundersbrewing.com

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

Monday - Saturday: 11am - 2am
Sunday: 12pm - 12am
Non-smoking Indoors, huge front porch for smoking. (heated winter room coming!)
Much larger room, with huge 25-seat custom mahogany bar.
Expanded Deli Menu and Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 11am-11pm
Sunday: 12pm-11pm
Store: 12pm-8pm
Live Music Thursdays and Saturdays featuring Stage, House PA and Sound
Pool Table, Real Dart Board, and Shuffleboard.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 295 | Visits: 988
Reviews by Gigantis:
Photo of Gigantis
4.18/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I had only been to the new Founders location once since they moved from Monroe, where it was always a favorite of mine even though it was not within walking distance. Well, their beer has only improved since then and so has their location.

The first time I tried to go with my wife, it was too crowded to sit anywhere and actually quite a bit of the standing room was taken too. It was loud as hell, but what do you expect at eight on a Saturday? It took forever, but I purchased a growler for six bucks and filled it with Double Trouble IPA, which was enjoyed immensely at a friend's house later on.

I went in about a week later just to fill the growler up on my way to a get-together. It was four o'clock on a Saturday and there was actually room at the bar this time. I took the opportunity to take in the surroundings this time. It's a really cool space - a spacious, high-ceilinged beer hall with a window at the far end through which you can see one of their stainless steel vats. In front of this window is a stage where they were setting up for a show that would, presumably, take place that evening. It was still loud as hell, so the only gripe I can really make about the space is that the sounds reverberate throughout and, I imagine, would make it difficult to have a discussion there. There was only one bartender working behind the long, zig-zagging bar and it took a pretty long time to get the growler filled; and understandably so as the poor bastard was overworked manning that bar and orders like mine by himself.

I went in to actually take in a beer or two after work recently. It was five on a Wednesday and the place was about half-full and subdued, which was great for me. There was, once again, only one person working behind the bar and she got to me when she could. There are two huge chalk boards up behind the bar that constitute a beer menu. At Founders, there are three tiers of beer: their old standbys (D. Bastard, Centennial IPA, etc.), their more intricate regular beers (Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, etc.) and their "specialty brews" (in this instance, Canadian Breakfast, Backwoods Bastard and Mountain Maple Brown). The prices for the regular beers are quite reasonable (about 4 bucks for a pint). It is 5.50 for a pint of tier two beer and I paid that for an Imperial Stout. It was fantastic.

The only real problem I can cite on this visit is the prices of specialty beers. I was feeling good after my Imperial, so I shelled out $5.50 for a 8oz Backwoods (also great). For a 12oz it costs $7.50, which seems a little steep to me but I guess you pay for quality, which Backwoods certainly is. The 8oz drink came in a half-filled brandy snifter.

I ordered a sandwich off of their food menu called the Devil Dancer after their beer of the same name. It was really a great sandwich. $8 for a big, hearty sandwich that skimps on nothing. Founders' deli menu can be given to you or you can look at a big board over a window where you could place an order if you were one of the unfortunates standing around. God only knows where you'd eat it though!

Overall, Founders seems like a good place and I think my coworkers and I are going there this Friday after work. I hope that we can find a place to sit - there are certainly lots of tables but they fill up right quick.

Pros
- The beer is top drawer, as is the grub
- Good, upbeat atmosphere
- Beautiful, open beer hall with no annoying decorations
- Non-smoking

Cons
- Gets pretty damn busy, from what I can see - and is loud
- Service is spotty; no fault of the staff - there just weren't enough of them
- The specialty beer is expensive, I feel (for $7.50 at least gimme a pint!)

*It should be noted that while I felt that the tier 3 beers are a little of the pricey side, they are very worthy and, really people, it isn't as if you can get 'em anywhere else.

**I dropped my growler outside of Hopcat - before filling it up, thank god - and will definetely buy another one.

 3,973 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of philsunset
4.31/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of cgwami
4.58/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of soxfan02
4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of bassfishingguy
4.1/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Founders definitely has some great beer, and some awesome sandwiches. There are usually numerous options on draft (and with 2 indoor bars, you can usually find quite varied options). Even on slow days, this place is still pretty busy.

The service is spotty, at best. I've found that about half of their bartenders/waiters/waitresses are great, and the other half are quite pretentious. Please don't act as though you're doing me the favor of serving me a beer.

After more than a few bad experiences, I've limited my Founders trips to special events only (Black Party, Cellar Raid, Firkin Fest, etc..). It's also worth noting that I've had more beer than I can remember get spilled all over me, which really makes me question their serving practices (ie over serving patrons).

 779 characters

Photo of Billydoughnuts
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Beerdudenumberone
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of NateDyk47
4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Pretty nice place. They always have a lot of good beers on tap, and the line to get beer is organized and moves pretty fast, even when it's crowded. My only complaint is that it's ALWAYS really busy, and near impossible to get a table during prime drinking hours since it's seat-yourself.

 288 characters

Photo of That_Bearded_Guy
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of MichaelCoyne
4.58/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My favorite brewery in Grand Rapids. Excellent beer, food, and vibe. Always a treat when you walk in on a Tuesday and they randomly tap CBS or KBS

146 characters

Photo of Uzarnayme
5/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Truth be told, never been here but there beers are without exception the very best anywhere. Only wish they'd open a brewery in Vermont so New England could partake in brews like the legendary CBS. Might have to import the water or something, all founders beers have a special taste to them. F-it, I'll just move to Michigan!

 325 characters

Photo of Chuckrutter
4.89/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of hopnado
4.11/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of FoundersConnection
4.86/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of DoctorFunkenstein
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of BudznSudz13
5/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of eifster82
4.85/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

I've been to Russian River, Toppling Goliath, 3Floyds, Cigar City and a few others... This one, Founders, takes the top spot. Beautiful facility, nice and large brewpub, good food, big selection of food and beer (they had KBS and CBS on draft when visited). There is no negative. I will be making plans to come back here again shortly.

 338 characters

Photo of JesseFrame
4.16/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of birchstick
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of chitowntink
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Photo of Sabtos
3.59/5  rDev -18.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

I get the feeling this place has been doing one thing, and making money doing it, so feels hey, why change what's not broken? But the whole set up of customer owns the entire floor is just unnecessarily chaotic. The place is a madhouse almost all the time, a lot of people are just sitting around holding seats waiting for friends because they know how awkward it can be to hover over other people to dive for their seats. The only thing that makes sense is the bar, but really, if they're going to offer food, they really need to learn from other brewpubs and seat people, take orders, and get a menu. They are so huge now, profitable and influential, having to act like you're in a cafeteria is just lame. The food is just okay too, not even worth the Disney World-esque struggle to get some. However, the point of being here is the beer selection, both annual offerings and oddball batches that you can't find anywhere else, and that doesn't disappoint.

 956 characters

Photo of tsauce2
5/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of max85
4.83/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of buzzy
4.04/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped here for lunch one day on the way through Grand Rapids. The place was buzzing both inside and outside. Sat at the bar and had a very good bowl of chili and a couple beers. Backwoods bastard was awesome. The servers behind the bar paid little attention to the customers unless your glass was empty.

 307 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.04/5  rDev -30.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Big place, kinda the main spot in town ya get the feel. Looks like it has a capacity person wise around 400. Big open area inside and out for lots of tables, lots of bricks, long bar inside, good gift shop with tons of disc golf stuff. Prices could be a little better on what would be you advertising for them.

They don't really leave a lot of variety though. I had some single hop experimental stuff that frankly should remain that way, and I think backwoods bastard was the only barrel aged beer they had available. Service sucks if you're not local. Then again the Tigers were getting destroyed so maybe that is why they couldn't be bothered. Food was ok, I had a sandwich that wasn't all that. They make really good beer, but this isn't really much of a destination type of place.

 797 characters

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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
97 out of 100 based on 295 ratings.