Founders Brewing Company
Ratings: 626 | Reviews: 268 | Display Reviews Only:
4.36/5 rDev -4.4%
This is 6th, maybe 7th, time I've been to Founders, and every time I get giddy. Giddy as in I start drumming on the steering wheel as I drive up, I get a huge smile on my face, and I hum some ridiculous tune as I briskly walk up to the door. A lot of it has to do with the amazing beer, of which I really love, but a lot of it is just how comfortable this place makes me feel. While there isn't really anything that screams Founders (minus the big brew tanks behind glass at the end of the room), there is just something that makes me relax completely.
First off, Founders is currently in construction adding a new wing to their facility. I've been here long before that started, and I can't wait to see the out come.
That being said, there is usually (and currently) a large covered front porch as you walk up with 10 circular picnic tables, and also a pint glass rail along the railing defining the edge of the porch (also large heaters above for winter months). Inside, is a large open space with a slew of tables. Granted this place has been hopping every time I've been here, so regardless of how many tables there are, seating is a premium. There is a long 22 seat, curved wooden bar; which is also hard to snag a stool at. High ceilings with exposed frame work, a sky light in the middle, and plenty of acoustical tiles for the stage at the end of the room. Aged wood floors, pale yellow walls with 3 large garage doors on the front (of which I've never seen open), and drop down "dock lights". Oh, and only 1 small tv at the bar, so if you're looking to watch "the game", you may have to squint.
The beer, to me, is classic. 13 beers on draft tonight, but I've been here when there are more...and also when there are less. This is honestly the "downside" to Founders. I'm never sure of which favorite of mine won't be here. And I don't mean seasonals/rarities either, although there is always one or two really great rarities available. Prices are reasonable and split into 3 Classes: 1) for $4 a pint are your standard offerings (the most available for sure) / 2) for $5 a pint for rarities with higher alcohol / 3) rarities in general for $6 a pint. Great beer and usually great selection.
Overall, I never come to Grand Rapids without at least one visit. This to me is one of my favorite bars in the entire US. Reasonably priced, extremely comfortable, and with fantastic beer regardless of season. This is a must stop as far as Im concerned. Have I mentioned it's relaxing here?...
08-22-2013 22:53:37 | More by qcbrewer
3.59/5 rDev -21.3%
Pretty typical brewery sitting areas but the place was under construction so I'm sure it is only going to get better. Food was actually outstanding which was something I wouldn't expect from any brewery. Service on the other hand was awful. I'm not a picky guy and don't (which more than made up for it). As usual, had some great new beers on tap and if it wasn't for one crappy waitress it would have been a great experience.
08-22-2013 02:57:30 | More by Commando
3.72/5 rDev -18.4%
Visited in early August, 2013: in the midst of their expansion woes. With that in mind:
Trying to ignore the construction mess, I can see the brewpub was and will be an attractive location for beer enthuiasts. A rather limited number of beers on tap, with only a few that aren't widely available. Their latest higher volume, limited release, Mango Magnifico, was on tap (and recommended), as was a single hop Mosaic and maybe 2 other taproom only beers. For a brewery with as much legacy and variety as Founders I expected more. For comparison, probably at least twice as many beers available at Bell's Eccentric Cafe (which I would more strongly recommend). And beers to go? ... only about 4-5 choices: fewer than any of the local beer stores I visited that week.
So, I was disappointed but will need to return, if possible, after the expansion is complete.
08-20-2013 23:26:41 | More by chinchill
3.65/5 rDev -20%
Interesting layout with a very open feel. Fantastic beer, but the bartenders seemed very uninterested. Yummy sandwiches and a really wide selection for food. I really enjoyed my visit! There was a really great variety of IPAs and I enjoyed all the beers we tried!
08-18-2013 03:08:01 | More by emma_problema
4.59/5 rDev +0.7%
Visited in March 2012, for the first day of the KBS release. KBS was so easy to get. No line at all. Parking was not as bad as it appeared upon arriving. Large room. Large bar. Quaint gift shoppe, with many reminders of the CBS I missed. I wasn't even into beers then, but from what I've heard, I so wished I was. There were no tables to relax at, so I skipped the food and had a beer, which I can't quite remember anything about, except that it had to do with Star Wars, I believe. I'm not so sure though. Place almost had a Cracker Barrel with a live music stage feel to it. Staff was way too busy to engage in banter. I love Michigan and all their wonderful breweries. MI is a craft beer mecca. Thank you, Founder's, for all the fantastic tastes upon mine palate.
08-17-2013 10:26:44 | More by 4amepiphany
4.18/5 rDev -8.3%
Visited on a cold winter weekend in February 2013.
The atmosphere is terrific, with a long, winding wood-trimmed bar that feels classy all the way. Informative chalk boards clearly give you all you need to know about their current beer selection. The only negative I could say about the building is that there just isn't enough seating, especially for a brewery like Founders, who has consistently gained in popularity since their inception over 15 years ago.
We visited both on a Friday evening and a Saturday lunch time, both of which were times that saw the place insanely packed to the gills with people looking to enjoy their tasty beer and sandwiches. With that being said, the service is a tad on the lackluster side, as they don't have a designated host/hostess to take names and give wait times/direct people to where they need to go. They get unbelievably busy - which I can imagine happens on almost a daily basis - so I think they should reconsider the whole "every person for themselves" method for seating.
The selection of beers is very good, not surprising considering this is straight from the source. I was a little disappointed to see that I just missed out on enjoying some of their Imperial Stout. I would've thought they would have plenty to re-tap, but I was wrong.
The sandwiches are very, very good here. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at just how much focus they put on quality food, but they certainly do. I had the Curmudgeon and would highly recommend it.
08-15-2013 17:43:27 | More by neckbracesub
4.38/5 rDev -3.9%
First off, let me say this above all - the staff breaks their friggin' backs to take care of clientele. Period. A lot of high end restaurants could learn a thing or two about service from this staff. Food was very good and fit the beer lineup very well. Speaking of, the lineup is always well balanced and it's Founder's beer, so you know the quality is there. No beef about the prices, and a good time all around. For what it's worth, this place is flush with hipster atmosphere. Doesn't play well with this metalhead, but beer society isn't a place to activate divisionary, so party on hipsters, hippies, bangers and whatever else. Come here and enjoy beer regardless of who you are.
08-14-2013 22:46:03 | More by gopens44
4.24/5 rDev -7%
Drove up from South Haven while on vacation. Looks like business has been good...lots of construction going on. Despite the construction chaos, the service and quality was outstanding. Great beer selection, awesome sandwiches, and plenty of staff around to provide quality service. Well worth the trip, and I will be back.
08-10-2013 22:59:14 | More by Knuckles_Nuclear
4.47/5 rDev -2%
Passed it by chance. The place was packed for a Wednesday night, yet the service at the bar was fast and the bar tender took the time to explain each beer. I choose a new variety, Mosaic, which was lighter than the browns, porters and stouts I usually drink. The bar tender was spot on in his description which had definite notes of grapefruit and I liked it a lot. I liked the place and can't wait to go back.
08-08-2013 20:47:34 | More by Mxsluis
4.48/5 rDev -1.8%
What a cool brewpub. It’s an absolute must visit if you’re a beer dork. Or if you’re not. It gets crowded, but they have a dedicated service area that keeps everything moving. The food comes from a window. Basically everything is self service, but in a place this big and busy, it works the best.
08-05-2013 01:58:11 | More by Fluffheady
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 626 ratings.