Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.93/5
Based on:
116 Beers
27,153 Reviews
Place Score: 97
Reviews: 284
Visits: 938
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: 284 | Visits: 938
Photo of MudDrinker
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The interior is well put together - large, well-spaced bar extending across the entire dining room. The dining room/main hall is widely spaced with a high ceiling to give a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere no matter how crowded it gets. The front of the building is entirely a patio to control overflow, or for those crisp fall days and warm summer nights.

Bartenders are all friendly and open to questions, service is fast and reliable.

Food is delicious and proportions huge on the verge of ridiculous (vegetarian-friendly, one or two vegan-friendly options).

Of course, the beer is amazing. They have tiers based on rarity, seasonality, etc. When I went in it was a Saturday during lunch, all the "higher" tiered beers (seasonals and peculiar taphouse-exclusives) were all gone. Still, FBS (Breakfast Stout) and Dirty Bastard was on tap. Came away with a growler of Harvest Ale.
When they fill your growler, expect at most an inch of air at the top of it.

Bottom-line: If I lived in Grand Rapids, I would be in this place at least once a week. (1,048 characters)

Photo of phisigben
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The atmosphere was awesome I wish this place was in Indianapolis. Service was awesome we sat at the bar and was served immediately.

The only reason I didn't give this place all 5's is because on the website they said that Canadian Breakfast Stout was going to be on tap, and it wasn't. But in all reality I had an amazing time.

My girlfriend and myself went for lunch I had a Devil Dancer (12oz) and the Devil Dancer sandwich, she had water (my DD) and a BLT we split the crab dip (amazing) then instead of the CBS I had the Kaiser Curmudgeon (6oz) (amazing). After getting a 4 pack of Devil Dancer the bill came out to $60 it was a little on the expensive side but after looking back on what we ate/drank it was worth it I would love to go back again (When they have CBS on tap) (781 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.86/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I’d rave more about Founders if only I could visit more often! Seriously cool place to drink some amazing brews. Came here for only the second time over the holidays. Arrived early enough to get a seat at the bar. In addition to their year-round line up they keep some specialties and one-offs on draught, always a welcome sign. Didn’t order food, just peanuts—which, I learned, you are to toss on the floor. If you go be sure to visit the merch shop and pick up some bottles. And live music on the weekends. Can’t go wrong. (532 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Visited on 3-14-09
KBS release day.

I've been to Founders before, and this time was just as enjoyable. A decent crowd had filled the place, but we quickly ordered some sandwiches and beers and sat down to enjoy the day. KBS, nitro KBS, oak aged Red's Rye, Canadian Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, all on tap. The sandwich arrived, hot and spicy (Devil Dancer), just right for a semi-hangover. KBS is one of the very few stouts that are best enjoyed fresh, and we did. Three beers later, and it was time to buy a case. What? None left? We are a couple of lazy assholes. At least the fun environment and considerate waitstaff attended to our every need. Only at Founders could you be this content and disappointed at the same time. I love it.

Score edited for extra awesomeness.
8-14-09 (790 characters)

Photo of MichiganHammer
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Founders Tap House has everything a craft beer lover could ever ask for. Some of the highest quality of craft beer on tap in the country. Founders offers a relaxed local feel with exceptionable service; you can tell that all of their staff enjoys what they do and who they do it for. I highly suggest visiting Founders anytime you're in Grand Rapids Michigan its a must go destination for any craft beer enthusiast!! (416 characters)

Photo of rteis
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Here's an update for their new location. Non-smokers are going to love the fact that the new joint is smoke free. A definite improvement in my book. Have food on site is good, but I will admit, I will miss the good 'ole days where the pizza guy from Sal's would deliver so we could have some eats while we took in the great beer. Selection is limited as they are trying to get caught back up with production. New building is great and must have 40+ seats right up @ the bar. A great improvement to the old place. (512 characters)

Photo of GABrew
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

I find myself in the Grand Rapids area a couple of times a year and always try to get to Founders whenever I can. I was there a few weeks ago and had a great experience, as always. It was a little more difficult trying to navigate around and find parking since they are in the midst of a large expansion project, but that's my only complaint. The service was outstanding, even though it was very crowded. The food was great. Be sure to get a pitcher of water if you order the Devil Dancer sandwich. Boy, was that thing hot! The beer selection is incredible. I wish I had a place like this right in back yard! They didn't have anything available for take out that I can't get at my local liquor store, so I didn't bring anything home, but they did have several brewery-only releases on tap that I was able to sample. Highly recommended for a visit if you're in the area. (869 characters)

Photo of CMoPink
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I absolutely love Founder's. This place has an amazing setup and top notch service. They have bands often, and I'm always happy with the music that is playing. Haven't had any Founder's beers that aren't of superior quality and deliciousness. They do a lot of special release beers also. They serve some delicious food also, deli style sandwiches and appetizers. Grand Rapids best local brewery by far. (402 characters)

Photo of hansgruber
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I absolutely love the taproom. The sandwiches are mindblowingly good in my opinion. Never disappointed with any selection. The beers are nicely priced and can easily be sampled. Always a good selection when I've been there. I only wish it were closer so I could go more than the couple times a year I usually do go there.
The wait staff are usually pretty attentive and knowledgeable.
They also have a nice selection of merchandise like glasses too.

Great place you won't be left disappointed!! (498 characters)

Photo of avalonct
4.81/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place just seems to get busier and busier everytime I visit. It's nearly impossible to get a table during the weekend, and the weekdays are harder to come by as well. This place is definitely getting a lot of positive press in the Grand Rapids area, and deservingly so. I just hope the owners and staff don't let all of this publicity get to their heads and sacrifice service, food, and most importantly the quality and integrity of the ingredients of the beer. I was told that they are tripling their batch of KBS for next year based on the demand this year. That is great, but like I said, I hope they don't cut corners and sacrifice the quality for quantity.

Anyway, this place is still clearly a must visit and the selection of beer is wonderful for a variety of interests. (783 characters)

Photo of Ferd577
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Loved the staff. They answer questions well, pour samples and never let your glass sit empty. The food (mostly sandwishes) are quality deli style, pickles and all. They have a huge assortment of beers on tap, many only available on tap, everything they will fill a growler with and you can bring your own from another brewery.

You can get everything they bottle as carry-out and the prices are way better than at the party store, $3 to $5 less per 4 or 6 pack. Their gift shop is pretty nice too boot. (502 characters)

Photo of JMC_TM
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Founder's is definitely in my top 3 breweries and I count myself lucky that they distribute to North Carolina or I may not have known to visit them while in Michigan.

Like many others my first impression of Founder's was their Breakfast Stout and it blew me away. I have been managing a beer bar here in Charlotte for over a year by the time I tried their beer and every time I get a chance to try a new one, Nemesis being the latest, I am reminded why I hold them in such high regard.

I had a great time in their bar and received great service as well. I didn't get a chance to try the food because I had just eaten, but the dishes that I saw pass me by seemed to be the usual sandwich and appetizer fare. My server was very helpful and answered all of my questions that I had for her.

This is a definite place you need to check out if you are anywhere nearby and you shouldn't hesitate to pick up a six'er or 4 pack of their delicious beers if you get the chance! (970 characters)

Photo of jimbotrost
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This is a tasting room of a working brewery. Located in a large factory, this first floor brewery is a treat. A small bar with 10 or so stools and numerous metal top tables give you a place to sit. The beers on tap on last visit numbered 12 and Founders makes great beer. The food menu was mostly sandwiches and they looked good on a busy Monday, but I had just got done with Breakfast. Large doors/windows showed the bottling line, which was in use, and the fermentation tanks. This is not a prim and polished place but if you want great beer at the source, get here. (568 characters)

Photo of robboyd
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I love this place. I've been drinking their beers for years but only recently took a trip to the brewery. This is the largest brew pub I've visited. Lots of tables and space to roam. Plenty of seats at a very long bar. People there were nice, as was the staff. I did two tasting paddles with a couple other people. The selection was vast. There were many beers on tap that don't hit distribution, including a selection of chile "Spite" beers that were wonderful. I wish I lived closer and could visit frequently. I'll be back again for sure. (541 characters)

Photo of henrichsj
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
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 kenm2118
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

In my opinion, this is the best Brew Pub out there. I have been here several times and have not been disappointed once. I remember my first visit a couple years ago. I was so giddy with excitement.
Atmosphere-The place is quite spacious. It is a big rectangle. When you walk in, the bar is to the left and stretches across most of the wall. There is a spot to order food as well as a place to buy beer to go and pick up Founders memorabilia. When the weather is nice, there is outside patio seating. Every time I have been there, the place has been packed, although, we haven’t had any issues with finding seating within a few minutes. The place has sky lights, which are always awesome to me. You can also see the part of the brewery through windows in the pub. All of the beers on tap are listed on a couple chalk boards above the bar and are separated by category.
Quality-Out of the many Founders beers I have had, only a couple have not been top notch. The brew pub almost always has beers on tap that are not bottled. I have had Hand of Doom, Looking Glass, CBS, Black Biscuit, Kaiser Curmudgeon and a few others.
Service-The service is good. They have wait staff who you can order beer and food through. They are usually pretty fast with getting your beer out to you. They of course will separate the check however you want it. This is a plus for me being in Illinois where they don’t know the meaning of separate checks.
Selection-The selection, as mentioned above, is always fantastic. Every time I have been there they have had several of their harder to find beers on tap.
Food-The food is mostly deli sandwiches. They have around 15 different variations. I believe you can get them either cold or hot. They are quite tasty, include a lot of meat and are reasonably priced. They also have a few appetizers that are good.
Value-To me, the value is great. All beers are under $7 and most are around $5 with higher alcohol beers coming in smaller glasses. Compared to bars in the Chicago area that have Founders on tap, the Brew Pub has the best prices. (2,068 characters)

Photo of beerguru15
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped by Founders twice in the past month while passing through the area...needless to say I was glad I did! I've always enjoyed drinking their beer and thought what would be more perfect than seeing the actual brewery itself.

Founders had a great atmosphere, was a place where you could conduct business at lunch, spend time with friends and family, or if you're like me just some relaxing time at the bar on your off time. The layout was quite nice and inviting. I also love breweries that have the vats and product in clear view. Sort of brings the whole atmosphere together.

The quality speaks for itself. I honestly couldn't tell of one person that I know or have talked to that didn't think Founders was wonderful. They brew a lot of different styles and they brew them well. Everything I've tried from on tap has been wonderful and reminded me why I'm a beer lover. The beers I tried at the brewery was a small sample of the Canadian Breakfest Stout (which I was told is only available at the brewery), the Porter and on my last visit a Secret Agent IPA, which..being someone that isn't quite fond of IPA's yet, was quite tasty.

The service was excellent. The girls behind the bar are quite attentive and know their Founders beer. In the case of some breweries/bars the waitstaff is basically just there to pour the beer and serve you, but aren't familiar to a degree with their own product. At Founders though, the one bartender was able to describe the different IPA's and something about each of the beers mentioned that she liked about. The food also came out on a timely fashion also.

I ranked the selection a little lower than a 5 being that the past 2 times I was there, they were out of a few of the beers tried..but in a ways is understandable being if they are popular they don't last as long. Besides that though they had a decent selection ranging from your lighter beers, ipas and darker beers in one section, to the higher ABV's and specials that are sought after during different times. Basically something for everyone

The food also was quite well. On my first trip I had a "Make your own" sandwich that brought together the type of meat veggies and toppings that you were interested in according to each section. Mainly they have sandwiches and a few other types of food such as salads that are perfect for lunch and also dinner. The portion size was great too as you got plenty for your buck.

With that being said Founders provides a reasonable value for your buck environment. The beers are typical brewery establishment prices of $3.50 for a pint and I believe 3.25 for 12 oz. I'd gladly pay a price such as that for the great quality beer that is received!

Overall Founders is a great place and recommended to anyone who is a beer novice to beer lover. Basically everything a person looks for when attending a brewery is there, and with the constantly changing taps, a great place to return. If you're ever passing through Grand Rapids make sure to stop off at Founders as it's also easy to find. Prost! (3,043 characters)

Photo of Roeters
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

New Founders, great place to relax and have the best beer in Grand Rapids. With one of the longest bars in the city makes finding a seat easy most of the time.

I am lucky enough to be with walking distance of the place which can give me some breathing room when I make the decision to have one more brew.

The service is always good even when the place is packed from wall-to-wall. Also the bartenders/servers will take the time to help people find the beer that they will enjoy.

Selection wise it is kinda sad to see the 2-6 empty taps, but it is always better to better quality and a smaller selection then a bunch of half-assed beers

Food is great, the Castro and the Backwoods Bastard being two of my favorites.

A must for anyone that loves beer. (755 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped by last Friday afternoon with my girlfriend and her dad while visiting family in Kalamazoo. I love all Founder's beer I've ever tried so I wanted to see the source.

I was not disappointed. We ordered some food and a beer. It was kind of loud inside and the weather was tolerable so grabbed a seat on the patio.

The food was amazing. Most food items are named after their beers. I had a Devil Dancer sandwich that lived up to the description. Very hot and very delicious on toasted rye bread. All food at the table looked great.

Don't miss the tap only offerings while here. We had Cashew Mountain Brown and 10K IPA and both were very delicious.

Except for the inside volume level, everything aced the test. Can't wait to go back the next time I'm in Michigan. (772 characters)

Photo of DalyDawg
4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Love Founders! The only complaint is parking. So i can't wait until their expansion is completed! The food is great and not your tradition "bar" food. Overall I always look and ask for Founders beer, Dirty Bastard is my favorite! Their KBS is to die for but good luck getting any, people line up outside the brewery the day before its released! (344 characters)

Photo of Ngcba415
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Incredible beer of any style from Stout to IPA. I have yet to have a beer by Founders that I disliked. All day IPA continues to be my daily drink, and will be for the foreseeable future. (187 characters)

Photo of PrendUnVerreDeBiere
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Great brewery. Brewing fantastic beers that entice the palate. You will hardly find a beer in this fine establishment that will not please and liven up your taste buds. The brewery provides an open atmosphere with plenty of seating in and outside. Architecture is rustic modern and industrial with plenty of stonework, wooden beams and weld work. The atmosphere is both busy and intimate, allowing one to participate in the bustle of the brewery, but also sit back and fade into the framework. Great ambiance and incredible large portioned appetizers and sandwiches that pair well with the incredible selection of flavorful beers. Well done Founders, until we meet again! (672 characters)

Photo of snafui
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I'm in Grand Rapids for business and the first place I dragged my coworkers was Founders. We rolled in on 10 pm on a Wednesday, I wasn't even really sure if the place would be open. Instead I found the place was packed! We grabbed 3 bar seats and had 3 rounds and some food. The folks were incredibly friendly, from staff to customers. The food was out of this world! I had a Red's Rye sandwich which was no lie one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.
I'm a huge fan of the Founders beers that we can get back home in MA, which is Red's Rye, Curmudgeon, and Dirty Bastard. I was really hoping to sample others but the only thing I found a little disappointing was that there were no special beers on tap. That entire section of the chalk board was empty. But what I had was great so it wasn't a real negative. I started w/ an IPA. Hit a vanilla porter next, and on suggestion from an enthusiastic patron had a blend of Dirty Bastard and Rubaeus (raspberry) which was interesting but not really my style.
All in all I had a fantastic time, would love to go back, especially some time when there are more specials. And I can't speak highly enough about the folks there. Atmosphere is a huge thing with me and really leaves an impression on your experience.

Also on suggestion from the locals we hit the Hop Cat next. (1,317 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Made the trek out here yesterday and was well-rewarded. I really enjoyed the atmosphere - long bar with tables and chairs, plenty of space. Lots of wood, with brewing tanks behind glass at one end. Pool table and darts at the other end.

The beer selection was exceptional, the highlights being KBS and CBS. On any other visit, the availability of BA imperial stout also would have been a major treat unto itself. But with KBS and CBS, I didn't even bother finishing my glass of BA imperial stout.

The server was very friendly and had very good knowledge of the beers. I asked her about one beer, and appreciated her candor in advising me that "you don't want that one."

Overall, I highly recommend stopping here if you're in the area. But check their tap list online first to make sure they have what you're hoping for. (823 characters)

Photo of qcbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
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)

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
97 out of 100 based on 284 ratings.