Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
Based on:
117 Beers
112,344 Hads
Place Score: 98
Reviews: 287
Visits: 950
Avg: 4.41
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

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: 287 | Visits: 950
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
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 -2.7%
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 +3.4%
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 -9.1%
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 -2.9%
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%
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 +1.8%
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

Photo of BillRoth
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Was on Beer Safari in Northern IN and Michigan few years ago, and had the good fortune of hitting FFF, Bell's, Dark Horse and Jolly Pumpkin. Each had much to rave about. Best surprise was dark Horse...gteat biker bar with world class beer and super people.
But I find myself looking back and wishing I could get back to Founders, which really took top spot on that trip.
Went in alone and was almost immediately invited to sit with a fun crowd, We sampled beers pretty much across the Founders offerings. Great IPAs and a sublime Imperial Stout on tap. Pretty much thought I had enough, and ready to go when the word got out they had just tapped a keg of CBS. Needless to say the night took a turn that kept me at Founders for a few more hours and in Grand Rapids not my intended destination @ MSU in East Lansing. Oh well.
I've loved the Founders brews for years, but I learned you really need to get there and get them fresh on tap with a table full of pilgrims..be they locals or out of towners. It's just a great brew pub...and maybe they'll tap another special keg when you show up.

 1,087 characters

Photo of andrewjraab
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I have been going to Founders since they were in their "startup" on Monroe in downtown GR. After those humble beginnings, they moved to a much larger facility on Grandville ave in downtown GR. After seeing their brand absolutely explode over the past several years they recently dumped several million into completely revamping the Brew Pub and they hit a home run with a complete overhaul on the drinking experience.

This place is a "destination" and I pinch myself to think it is in my own back yard. It features several garage style over head doors that were all open while I was their because it was a beautiful day. The recent renovations added two huge fire pits and several overhead heating lamps that make it nice to sit outside on even cold days and have a brew. From world class beer, to damn good deli sandwiches, to an open space where people are just their to have beer and socialize with friends, this place is truly one of a kind. I love that there aren't many TV's (maybe 1 that I saw) because that isn't what this place is about. Its about being with friends, family, or just other beer lovers to to simply that - enjoy beer.

 1,144 characters

Photo of smartassboiler
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Founders is one of my favorite breweries, and I got the chance to visit here for both 2013 KBS Day and for 2013 Founders Fest.

The Atmosphere is great. It's a large, almost warehouse type feel on the side with big wooden tables and plenty of seating. There's also seating outside on a balcony area as well, and that's where we sat to drink our KBS.

The Quality is perfect. Many of their beers are world-class, and that's about all you can ask for.

The Service was fantastic. The waitstaff was extremely prompt with all orders despite being insanely crowded, and they were all helpful and would take time to answer questions as long as you didn't try to strike up a full conversation with them.

The Selection here is fantastic. They always have a good handful of Class 1 beers which include some draft-only offerings, they normally have at least 2 Class 2 beers, and they often have a Class 3 beer on tap as well. The food menu also looked good, but I haven't ordered anything from here yet.

The Food looked really good, but I haven't tried it yet.

Overall both experiences with Founders have been pretty much perfect. They run their events extremely well, and I look forward to visiting here again.

 1,204 characters

Photo of ari32
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Founders is a great place to grab a bite to eat and drink some awesome beer. They always have brewpub-only beers on tap. The food is good quality and reasonably priced. The staff is great and the outdoor patio is perfect when the weather is nice. They have a lot of live bands play there, and the last New Year's event I went to (2013) was a great time!

 353 characters

Photo of Makisupajoey
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Service was outstanding. Came in Wednesday about 12:30 pm and most seats were full. I sat at the bar and before I could finish review beer list a bartender stopped by and asked if I needed any help. While waiting for my beer to be served(not long wait) other bartenders stopped by asking if they could help. I didn't order food, but the menu looked decent.

 356 characters

Photo of qcbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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?...

 2,497 characters

Photo of Commando
3.59/5  rDev -18.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

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.

 426 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

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.

 861 characters

Photo of emma_problema
3.65/5  rDev -17.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

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!

 263 characters

Photo of 4amepiphany
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

 766 characters

Photo of neckbracesub
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

 1,504 characters

Photo of gopens44
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

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.

 685 characters

Photo of Knuckles_Nuclear
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

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.

 322 characters

Photo of Mxsluis
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

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.

 410 characters

Photo of Fluffheady
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

 302 characters

Photo of henrichsj
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Wow! Stayed a night in Grand Rapids on the way home to Iowa from a family vacation. Talked the wife into dragging my two young kids into the city and check out Founders . . . despite the construction overhaul taking place, I can see why Founders is considered one of the best. What an incredible atmosphere. The taproom overlooks the brewery. Our server was awesome! Knew his beer! Had an All Day IPA on tap which was great as usual but the highlight was a hoppy, special brew Gold Dust Woman. Brought home a growler of it. My wife loved her Raspberry Ale too, and she's not usually a beer drinker. They have food options but it's more of a deli. The food was okay at best. But who goes to Founders for the food?!? Tough to beat this place . . .

 745 characters

Photo of AaronGreenman
3.73/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Went downtown with Brandon and Chelsea the night before my interview. Drank some pale ale, listened to some good music, and had a good night. There were a lot of road bikers there which made me want to ride my bike into Founders one day. Great place to sit down with friends and drink some good beer. I didn't try the food but I will have to next time I visit.

 360 characters

Photo of carmike813
5/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I went to Founders Brewing Company a week or so after Foundersfest and was lucky enough to get some of the remaining special brews from the event. Founders is one of my favorite breweries and the visit didnt dissapoint.

The server was there within 2 minutes to take our drink order, which is always a plus.

My wife and i ordered a Devil Dancer TIPA on tap, and followed it up with a Barrel Aged Honey Stuff served in a snifter. Both were excellent brews. The food was amazing, beer cheese dip was second to none.

All in all i had a great experience and look forward to KBS day in March.

A+ expereince

 605 characters

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
98 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.