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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.93/5
Based on:
116 Beers
27,173 Reviews
Place Score: 97
Reviews: 285
Visits: 939
rAvg: 4.38
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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @foundersbrewing

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
Reviews: 285 | Visits: 939
Photo of bwood06
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Great place to eat, have a drink, and have a get together with friends. Awesome beer selection with various price ranges. Founder's actually serves some of their beers in glasses other than pint glasses which is a nice break from the norm. (241 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Lived in GR for 4 years, and have to say, without a doubt, this is my favorite brewery of all time. Homer bias? Fine. Nostalgia? Yes. But boy do they make some great beer. Plus the food is outstanding, and the music/environment is one of a kind. New beer garden takes it to another level. A must visit for any beer lover. (321 characters)

Photo of RobertClevenger
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is huge, tons of seat yourself seating inside and out. Service was very quick. Roaming servers take drink orders and deliver quickly. Lost of great beers to choose from.

Food is ordered from a separate window with a pager given for pick up. I had the cheesesteak, their most popular sandwich, my fiancé had turkey Ruben sandwich. We split a small side of potato salad. Overall the food was great. Quick service. (425 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Visited on June 16. 2014

A- This is my first time making it up to Founders which is a real shame on my part as I live in Kalamazoo but hey I get Bell's 5 mins down the road so can you blame me? Anyway this place looks really nice and with the expansion it really helps accommodate the big crowds that can show up. Lots of wood and brick, multiple bars, one big giant bar in the main area. A few t.v.s at the main bar not adhering to Bell's no t.v. rule. The entire brewery is attached to the taproom which nice to see and different from Bell's.

Q- Everything is first rate. From the decor to the beer and food, you will have a great time here.

S- I was a bit confused as to whether they had servers or not. Occasionally someone would walk around asking people if they needed anything but most part you go to one of the bars for beer and an order window for your food. It kinda creates the same problem Bell's has of creating misshapen lines.

S- You kinda have to look at all the different bars they have cuz some will have stuff on that others do not. Apart from that though they always seem to have a great selection of various styles. For example, while there I had an Imperial IPA, a raspberry ale, a BA Scotch ale, and a coffee brown ale.

F- Mostly sandwiches, would have been nice is they had some real pizza or something. But the sandwiches were great with nice combination of toppings, the bread in particular was great. One slight complaint is that for the price I was hoping for a bit more meat on my sandwich.

V- Beer prices are great and I was there when they had their Monday special going on so that was nice. The food prices are pretty reasonable as well, around $10 for most sandwiches. (1,711 characters)

Photo of Jd2391
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Drove up from Chicago for the last two KBS releases. The brewpub has completely changed in the last year. Went from a great place to a near perfect place. Amazing food menu with great new areas to sit and relax. Love the new outdoor space this year. Definitely recommend to anyone who is in the Grand Rapids area. Planning on driving back up soon, just to have a great beer in a great atmosphere. (396 characters)

Photo of udubdawg
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

great place; never gets old, beers are always on point, something interesting always to be found, and the food is fresh, served fairly promptly, and seems well-thought-out. Wish I lived next door. Will go back again tomorrow, and every single time I'm within a couple hours driving... (284 characters)

Photo of shredder83
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I went to founders in 2014 the week of the kbs release to pick up my alotment.

I thought that founders was great, lots of wood made it feel warm and inviting and the large beer garden outside was pretty awesome. There was so much space outside and even though it was pretty chilly at the end of march, there were heaters pretty much everywhere so it was perfectly comfortable to eat or drink outside. Lots of seating for guests and I did not wait long for a table.

There isn't a ton to say about the quality, founders makes world class brews and the only thing better than having a founders beer is having fresh, straight from the source. I Have had centennial ipa several times on draft, in bottles and in cans and having it on draft there was a whole new ballgame.

The selection there was very good, but considering it was kbs week when I went I wasn't surprised. Their regular year rounds were flowing along with a few one offs/brewery only and a few special brews (backwoods bastard and barrel aged red's rye). Selection was great.

Despite the lack of waitstaff besides the bartenders the food will get an A+ from me. Both me and my girlfriends sandwiches were phenomenal, given the chance I would have eaten more but our time in grand rapids was limited.

Value was as expected, good beers and food at reasonable prices. They have two different size pours for most, if not all of their beer which is pretty cool, since maybe not everyone wants a full 16 oz pint for every beer they have.

Overall I would certainly go back to enjoy their brews, food and atmosphere. I live in the suburbs of chicago but I can't wait until I can get back up to founders for another visit. (1,681 characters)

Photo of BoyDrinksWorld
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The beer garden expansion last year served as a much needed catalyst to transform Founders from a loud, overcrowded waitfest to an enjoyable place to pay homage to fantastic craft beer. The service and attitude of the brewery is phenomenal. The best beers in their lineup are available here, and often are only available here. I used to loathe having to be at Founders to enjoy their limited draft selection, but the atmosphere is now spacious, and the beer, with 3 bars pouring, is finally easily accessible. Founders is now my favorite of the Michigan breweries to travel to. (577 characters)

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.01/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Founders is epic and fun! I was very much looking forward to visiting one of my favorite breweries. The place is rather gigantic and sprawling, with a large patio, two bars, tons and tons of tables and high-tops all over and a little kitchen with a window where you order food (basic stuff, sandwiches and things).

They have all the classics on taps plus some cool things like Frangelico Brown, Barrel-aged Red Rye and Barrel-aged Spite Hungarian Wax. I like the variety of prices and servings... $3.75 for 5 ounces of the barrel-aged stuff? Sure why not.

We were there on a Friday at around 5pm and the joint was busy but manageable. We started at a table inside and later moved to the bustling patio, where we struck a conversation with some locals.

Founders is fun. I like the industrial-chic atmosphere and of course. Perhaps a little too big (I like smaller brewpubs) but damn fun anyways. Located right across from the Amtrak station, there are taxis available to drive you back to your hotel. Smart move. (1,016 characters)

Photo of BrewtalHonesty
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Every visit reminds me of why Founders is among my top favorite breweries. The beer is consistently delicious, from one style to the next. Fourteen taps cover a range of styles, with tap-only and experimental rotations being common (meaning every visit will allow one to find something new). The previously wide-open and inviting tap room has been dramatically upgraded with a beautiful porch area/beer garden. Our last visit found us having lunch, and all four adults were delighted with the food (salads and sandwiches) - the sandwiches are among the best we've ever had or seen. Service has been prompt and accurate on every visit. Growler fills are reasonable, especially for the high quality beer that Founders is known for. Don't miss this spot on a trip through Grand Rapids. (782 characters)

Photo of Forb
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I headed out from Three Floyds, in Munster, IN, and headed straight for Grand Rapids with this brewery as my destination!!

I arrived around midnight on a Thursday going into a Friday. It was sparsely packed and a live band was still playing. The bartender was real friendly and offered up and immense amount of information on not only there beers but what I could go and explore in the coming days. I mentioned how I'd tried to grab some KBS a few months prior and failed in doing so... The night continued and I was able to meet some great people in this area, not to mention try a plethora of location-only beers. When the night ended, the bartender flagged me. I went over to see what was up and he had gone in the back to find me a bottle of KBS!

This place is a MUST. Even if you have to go out of your way. Truly exemplary. (831 characters)

Photo of SteveSly
4.25/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Along with Bell’s, Founders is the other crown jewel in the West Michigan beer scene. The fact that I have both of these places within a 45 minute drive of my house still amazes me. The Founders facility is a big open room with tables. They serve sandwiches / subs in a similar fashion to Bell’s where you order at the bar and then pick up at a window. Anyone who knows anything about beer knows that Founders beers are all great to outstanding. Often at the brewery they have beers on tap that you cannot find in retail or bar outlets which is always cool. They have a stage on one end of the facility where they have live music on some nights. If you are in Grand Rapids you must stop at Founders. It is one of the cream of the crop in the whole United States in my opinion. (780 characters)

Photo of Badger6
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It's the Taproom for one of the best breweries in the America. It's flat-out amazing, not like psychedelic or once in a lifetime, it's just a really cool place. I can't say the atmosphere is perfect, because the HUGE amount of tables seems to make you think they want to sell food...

Until you sidle to the bar, grab a stool and start bullshitting with the staff. They know the beer, they all drink it, and they can all describe it in beer lingo so you can make an educated choice. Team approach to serving, so I have no idea who got the sweet 30% tip I left, but they were all friendly, they were eager to keep my glass full, and there was no awkward infighting between the staff. They all genuinely look like they love their job.

The beer is all quality; if you don't like a particular beer, it isn't the quality, it's just not your style. The food is good, servings are huge (a half-sandwich is perfect for normal people, the overeaters can get a full, but it isn't necessary).

Great place to eat and have a beer, I go every time I am in town. (1,049 characters)

Photo of craft_shannie
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

was super excited to visit for the first time & bring home some KBS. visited tap room early thursday afternoon, 3/28. expansive & open space with a long beautiful bar, w. plenty of tables & outdoor seating. still, it was still a chore to find some open seats. no class 3 beers, only one class 2 (curmudgeon), with mostly standard class 1 beers. sampled diamond mt brown, empire strikes bitter, exp 7272, and dirty bastard. service was good considering the amount of ppl there. given the crowd, didn't order food from the window - and just settled on pretzels & the centennial IPA mustard. (its super good).

yes, founders does beer extremely well & we enjoyed our beers & shared a few laughs while visiting, but in terms of the tap room itself, i was a bit disappointed. i prefer a more intimate and personal experience. but, it was KBS release - and i left w. my KBS so how disappointed can i be, right?

re-review based on return visit for 2014 kbs. the expansion is complete & just makes the space very relaxed, comfortable, and manageable for the numbers founders commands. staff is freaking excellent. kbs on tap was a real treat. kbs week was very, very well done. big fan. (1,180 characters)

Photo of EricTKole
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

It's hard to not find something here that you don't like, unless of course your just a curmudgeon. Being a mug club member here and living within 20 minutes of the place I guess makes me a little spoiled(and maybe jaded). At the end of the day all your gonna find here is world class beers served at a reasonable price, good food, and lots of live music. Yeah parking these days seems to be at a premium but that's because all you see here anymore on the weekends is a bunch of out of state plates. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can get the year round brews stick to the class 2 and 3's, also the taproom one offs. These beauties tend to be very special and are commonly the ones I leave with in my growlers, cheers! (739 characters)

Photo of DavidRandall
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been to Founder's three times. When I am in Grand Rapids for an event, most recently a Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game, I stop here for the food and beer. Since I can get the Centennial IPA, All Day IPA, Breakfast Stout and occasionally a few others in the local store, I get something different. This visit it was the Imperial Stout. A very good stout that poured dark, almost black.

The food has always been good and this time we got a beer cheese dip to share and I had a ham sandwich they were featuring. Sorry, I do not recall the name. All four of us liked the sound of it but I was the only one to order it. What scared everyone else away was that it had potato chips on the sandwich, yes on the sandwich. We thought they would be stale/soggy but the were kettle chips and they held up well with a good crisp crunch in every bite of the good sandwich.

The place is large just having expanded. A very large open dining room and a smaller area to the right as you walk in that has high top tables and a pool table and an additional bar. There is also a covered patio outside with heaters in the roof to make it very comfortable to sit out on a picnic table as we did last year. Watching snow floating down having a great sandwich and beer was very relaxing. A beer garden was another addition with the expansion. (1,331 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

--My review from Yelp.--

Everything I expected.

I walked in about 15 minutes after they opened and the place was basically barren. By the time we walked out 90 minutes later, they were completely packed and there was a line almost out the door. I think that speaks for itself.

...but in case it doesn't, I'll elaborate. Upon walking in, you'll notice how massive this place is. There's a lot of seating, but it's not crammed at all, at least not at the main bar area when you first walk in, to the left.

I'm feeling too damn lazy to write up a lengthy review, so I'll just give some bullet points.

1.) The server was knowledgeable about the beers on tap, which I'd expect, and was very happy to see.

2.) The brews have tiers 1-3, with 1 being the cheapest, and 3 being most expensive.

3.) The food is nearly excellent, with a nice variety of sandwiches to enjoy, at fair prices.

That explains Founders in a reasonably short review. The beer is some of the best you'll find anywhere, the food is very well worth waiting for (we didn't wait more than 10 minutes, but they weren't busy when we ordered), the staff is trained well, the bathrooms are clean... it's just a great experience. I expected nothing less out of Founders, and my visit there was probably the highlight of my brief trip to Grand Rapids. (1,313 characters)

Photo of MSU_hophead
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

This place was solid even before the renovations but with all the changes is truly a world class beer hall. The new outdoor "beer garden" area is gigantic with multiple huge gas bonfires and plenty of outdoor gas heaters situated above the outdoor tables. I've been out here in November and it's still been pleasant although they do close down the outside bar around October. Some (but not all) of the outdoor area is covered so it could still be enjoyed in moderately inclement weather. There is also a convenient outdoor smoking area to the side of the patio.

Moving to the inside...as a pool player you can't beat the free! pool in the back. The two bars inside keep the lines reasonable even when it's busy. I really like the new two bar setup; if you're there for a show or enjoy being in the center of the activity the main area is a great spot to be. The second, new smaller bar located around the corner is great for a more intimate sit down or for catching the game on one of their big flat screens. They even let you fill up a growler and keep it in a fridge in their tap room.

The food is extremely good too. I've had the backwoods bastard sandwich which has pulled pork with Dirty Bastard infused BBQ sauce. I've also had most of their apps and they have all been solid. The bartenders are always knowledgable and have never hesitated to give me decent size samples of even their class 3 offerings.

Founders gets top marks for their amazing outdoor area, large and modern indoor space as well as their great food, beer and knowledgeable staff. (1,561 characters)

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Can't believe I have never gave Founder's a rating...Been here a dozen times over the last 8 years or so...

Founder's is the quintessential destination brewery. They do everything here. They have cheap, good eats. They have a great stage, and bring in world class (and lots of local) music. They have an always rotating and interesting tap list with things that are only available at the brew pub. A fantastic swag shop, and a state of the art tap room, with an awesome outdoor seating area, with a ton of room for just about anything. Founder's does it right.

I don't need to say much more, it's all been said. Worth the trip from anywhere in the world, and it won't disappoint. (682 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Atmosphere: very big and open now that they went through the expansion. a stage with what looks like some cool concerts and events. really nice outdoor area, can't wait to be there when the weather is nice. wish there was more available gaming zones, they just have the one pool table

Quality: founders brews some beers that are top notch. one of the best american ale breweries in michigan if not the country

Service: no real problems here. it is seat yourself which gets crazy since its always busy

Selection: probably one of the better combinations of what they bottle and pub exclusives around. there pub exclusives aren't the best though

Overall: a great place to go and a must visit when in grand rapids. great beer and a fun place (741 characters)

Photo of DMarlinJ
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

I have been in to get take home bottles, buy stuff at the store and recently had lunch. Went in the day after Thanksgiving to do some shopping, then had a couple of the class 3 beers and a bowl of chili. Both were excellent. It was quite busy but I got served promptly and my server even went to the other bar to get the beer I wanted because it was not at the bar I was sitting at.
The people that sat down next to me did have a bit of a wait to get noticed, I was surprised it took a bit long. It was getting busier though.

Talking with the different bartenders was fun. They definitely knew their stuff on beer and I learned a few new things. I enjoyed my visit, great stop for lunch. (689 characters)

Photo of teledeluxe
4.01/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Beer hall atmosphere - you either love it or hate it. It was clean, wasn't too loud and no one seems obnoxious despite there being a game on. Would be better if it was more like a traditional german beer hall and a little less like a sports bar. Staff seemed pretty good overall but our waitress was slow at best - perhaps a little overworked. Good news is I liked everything I had. Food was pretty decent. Beer was great. (422 characters)

Photo of TheGingerbreadMan
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Straight up Beer Hall at its best. Super long bar, stage for performances. With the backdrop of the brewing tanks. Food is okay if you need to eat there, it's a quick service kitchen, sandwiches and stuff. You go for the beer, obviously, which is obviously top notch. (267 characters)

Photo of arkansastroy
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

I love this place! Big room with plenty of room for the live entertainment. Great sandwiches and delicious beer. Huge bar with lots of elbow room. so many Founders beers on tap the flight was 15-20 beers, can't remember exactly. Some only available there. Awesome!! (265 characters)

Photo of guityler83
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

On a weekend trip to Grand Rapids how could you not make a trip to Founder's. The lady and I went on a Saturday night at around 9PM durring a week of Art Prize and the place was jumping, but we didn't have to wait at all to get in. There was a modest cover at the door since a few bands were playing that night, but as luck would have a friend of mine was drumming in one of the bands.

We first made a stop in the store to pick up a few items (Some Harvest Ale, a snifter and a bottle bottle opener) then stepped over to grab a few beers. Of the 3 times going to the bar the most I had to wait was about 2 mins (nice) and got some amazingly fresh drinks (Breakfast Stout, Mango Manifico, All Day IPA) at a very reasonable price.

The layout was great with the rolling garage doors and patio, even when the bands were playing you could hold a conversation without it being too loud. Overall great time, but we didn't end up grabbing any food, but there's always next time! (972 characters)

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
97 out of 100 based on 285 ratings.