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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BA SCORE
100
world-class

648 Ratings
Ratings: 648
Reviews: 269
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 8.75%
Active Beers: 145
Beer Ratings: 88,656
Beer Avg: 3.97
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 648 | Reviews: 269 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rejectd-Nimrod
1.5/5  rDev -67.2%

Rejectd-Nimrod, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of wombat
2.65/5  rDev -42%

Two friends and i did a Michigan brewery tour 8 breweries in 2 days. Founders was the inspiration for this trip but when we got there they lost our food order and they only had one beer on their menu that i hadn't had. we where so disappointed that we ranked it last. every brewery we went to had several beers we had never had usually experimental beers. but everything on founders menu were beers i could get back in Ohio. I will still drink their quality beer but i see no reason to go to their pub.

wombat, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of wvdfh120fan
2.76/5  rDev -39.6%

wvdfh120fan, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of Swik
2.88/5  rDev -37%

Went for the first time in March and gotta admit, I was super disappointed. Food is alright but the selection straight up sucks, let's see you can choose from sandwiches, sandwiches, and sandwiches. Food prices are reasonable, I got the big ass triple decker whatever it was called it was $13 and well worth it. Staff is pretty much non existent as if they are busy you'll have to order your own food and beer. Which leads me to beer, if you go to s brewpub you expect a lil sumthin special right? WRONG!!! I think they had two beers I hadn't had before on tap, what up wit dat? Overall just want impressed, sorry.

Swik, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of alleykatking
3.26/5  rDev -28.7%

Went to Founder's today with some buddies of mine. Got there I would say around 4:45 p.m. and there were around 30 people altogether. We sat down at a table and were asked for our beer order. We asked for a menu to eat along with our order and:
1) Never got our menu after we said something about it again.
2) Didn't get the right beer and had to ask again for the right beer.

After we finally all got the right beers we didn't see our server again. We watched her go around to the other tables around us but not ours. Even with empty glasses we finally said forget about sitting down at the table and moved to the bar. Had to ask a couple of times for a menu up at the bar but at least we got the correct beers. After we asked once to place an order and were pretty much ignored they then told us we had to go elsewhere to order. we finshed up our beers and just left the place. Maybe this was just an off day for the employees but I won't really go out of my way to come back. The atmosphere seemed to be a good one but the service killed everything good about the experiance.

alleykatking, May 18, 2009
Photo of scoobybrew
3.34/5  rDev -26.9%

We stopped in at Founders on a recent trip to Grand Rapids. The place had kind of a brewery-back room feel to it. “Divey”, but a clean kind of dive if that makes any sense. The selections on the chalkboard were incredibly had to read with the lighting present. It was a Saturday night and there were only two people working the place, so if you wanted a beer you had to go to the bar to get it. However, the staff seemed knowledgeable enough about the beer and were more than happy to pour you a pint (they were incredibly busy). The place was modestly filled until one of the local bands began to set up; apparently there was a show tonight. On our way out, we noticed a cover charge being taken. I always find this in very poor taste at a brewpub. Don't go here if you want to eat. Apparently the kitchen is only open for certain hours and I hear it's just snacky-sandwich stuff. Having said all that, I think the beer was very tasty, if not a bit pricey. Every beer I had (and tasting my wife's choices also) was of above average quality.

scoobybrew, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of kaos14
3.39/5  rDev -25.8%

Biggest bar I have ever seen. The are a lot of very well spaced tables in the middle of huge the room. More tables outside on the porch. A stage sits in the far corner for the frequent live music. Behind the stage is a huge floor to ceiling glass window looking into the brewery. The bar is also very big, maybe 25 stools. The tap selection was just Founder's brews, there were about 8 on tap when I visited but there was room for more. The selection was pretty standard in my mind mostly the old stand-bys of a brewery, pale ales and wheat beers. I was happy to be able to try the Imperial Stout which was good and I also sampled the Rubeaus which was not. I was intrigued by the half rubeaus half stout beers I saw poured, but after tasting the rubeaus I was no longer. They had a small selection of bottles for sale in a cooler, but there was nothing too different from what you'd see in a decent beer store. I did like the large selection of Founder's gear and glassware for sale. I was happy to pick up a Breakfast Stout glass and a Kentucky Breakfast Stout glass for 4 dollars each. I did not eat any food there, but I did note that they basically have a sandwich counter that also has a few appetizers. I don't recall the prices.

kaos14, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of boarder916
3.43/5  rDev -24.9%

Founders is a great place to stop by for a tasty beer and a good sandwich while in Grand Rapids. The brew pub is always packed, so get there early or late, or expect to stand. The service is average at best, so place your orders at the bar to get faster service. Mondays are $1.50 off pints, so it's a good time to try their beers. If you like spicy, the Devil Dancer Sandwich is great. It can get extremely loud inside during busy hours, which is fine for the average consumer, but not good for a meeting over a beer. Overall it is well worth the visit.

boarder916, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of Florida9
3.48/5  rDev -23.9%

What can I say?

I was excited to come to Founders. It was stop three on my mini-brewery excursion and I was looking forward to grabbing some beers from one of the greats.

Founder's sort of sticks out in a gentrifying neighborhood on the South side of Grand Rapids. There is a newish condo complex across the street with "hop" in it's name. I wonder if its a coincidence or not...

As for the brewpub, it's essentially a large warehouse-type set up. It's just one extremely large room with a bar along one wall. There were tables set up during my visit, but none of them are permanent. From what I can tell, Founder's gets bands on a regular basis and the space can be a venue as well as a brewpub. Multi-purpose I suppose. However, from a brewpub perspective, it's a shitty set up. There is no hostess so you don't where to go or where to sit or what.

Never-the-less, found a table after some searching. But no waiter. and no menu. and no beer menu. all except what is written on the chalkboards. Is this how it's supposed to work? I'm supposed to get up and walk half-way across the restaurant to stare at the fucking wall every time I want to make a decision about what to drink or eat. What a pain in the ass. (as it turns out - there are menus, my server was just a dipshit).

So, speaking of my server. This guy probably shouldn't be a server. Didn't bring us any menus, didn't offer any suggestions. When I asked about one of the only beers available that I've never heard of, the Mister E Froot, he was incapable of describing it. I asked him to try. He noted it was unique. Okay... what about the yeast, I asked, attempting to get some sort of description or idea of what this beer resembled. "Founder's uses the same yeast in every of their beers." I found that interesting, but whatever. So is it like a lambic? No was the reply. How about Brett, does it have brett in it? What is brett? he asked. You know, like a sour, is it a sour? No. Okay, I give up, twenty questions is over, just bring me the fucking beer.

I am hopeful my server was an anomaly. However, while staring at the beer list over the bar, it wasn't anyone even attempted to even assist me. Never, not once. I guess Founder's just isn't a very helpful place.

As for the food, it's sandwiches and pizza made out of bread that you could otherwise use to make a sandwich. The sandwiches aren't bad. Some show creativity. And they're well made. But in the end they are just sandwiches and they're nothing all that special.

Selection was decent, but there were only two brewery-only beers available on my visit. Considering I was coming all the way from Chicago, I was hoping for a little more pizzazz, a little something to make the trip worthwhile. Two brewery-only beers and a dozen beers I didn't need to leave Illinois to drink was a little bit of a let down.

Overall, the place was just okay. I imagine the vibe would be a lot different at night, but I really didn't get the feeling this was a place to kick back and sip a beer. It just felt like they were catering to the "let's go out and get drunk" crowd and I'm way passed that stage.

Florida9, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Robdiesel21
3.5/5  rDev -23.4%

Robdiesel21, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of HereforBeer
3.5/5  rDev -23.4%

HereforBeer, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of mattboyer182
3.5/5  rDev -23.4%

mattboyer182, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of Commando
3.59/5  rDev -21.4%

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.

Commando, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of beerwolf77
3.59/5  rDev -21.4%

Stopped in here during my whirlwind tour of GR. The place was packed to the gills while I was there. I will give as fair a shake as possible.

Rather large dark open space with plenty of seating and standing room. Nice large stage to the left of the bar. No bands were playing on this occasion. Pretty much typical of any brew pub.

The tap list was decent but nothing special. They only had one beer on tap I had never had or seen outside the brewery. Of course I ordered that. Took a hefty 5 minutes to waive down a server to order.

Basically I'm getting to the point now where every brew pub feels the same. Nothing really stands out anymore. I would love to come back here when it's warm outside and enjoy the patio. Maybe on a week night so it's not as crowded too.

beerwolf77, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of Yetiman420
3.6/5  rDev -21.2%

During a terrible snow and cold freeze of early February 2007, I did a white-knuckler western Michigan loop consisting of the top-rated brewpubs in Western Michigan. The trip began in the southwest corner at the Livery in Benton Harbor, up to New Holland in Holland, over to The Hideout, Founders, and BOB in Grand Rapids. Individual reviews are below and my rankings from a total experience are New Holland, The Hideout, The Livery, Founders, and BOB.

My perspective is based on visits to almost 200 brewpubs across North America. I’m an avid homebrewer and craft-beer drinker but no means an expert on the contest judging of beers. I know good beer when I taste it.

Founders is a place I've been itchin to get to ever since I wasn't able to make it here during a visit to Kalamazoo. I'm a big fan of their Centennial IPA and have had the pleasure of speaking with the owner/head brewer at a Founder's tasting in Cincinnati.

I had very high expectations leading up to the visit. Everything went well until I opened the door and steped into their pub. On the outside, it's in an attractive, historic area of Grand Rapids that appears to be growing. When I stepped inside, I was dissapointed to see it was decorated to the minimum. This is very subjective and I do like the run-down beaten feel (loved it at The Hideout), but I was expecting something a little more from their space. Especially when the outside gave so much promise for something equally impressive inside. There were nice viewing areas for the brewing equipment. Other than that, it was pretty dumpy. As an advocate of clean air, I was dissapointed that 90% of the people were smoking. Everything from cigars to hand-rolled tobacco. It's hard to enjoy the aroma and flavor of good beer when you can barely breathe. Other brewpubs in Michigan have special areas for smoking which would have been nice here.

They had all their bottled beers on tap. I had the Black Rye, Red Rye, and two stouts. One stout had hazlenut which was pretty good, the other was middle of the road. I had a 13% tripple IPA which was good if not a bit sweet.

The only food they have are peanuts or pretzil rods with hard cheese to dip them in.

I'd love to have another shot at Founders and I'm sure I'd think better of it. Prior to the trip, I put them in a category of micro regionals with New Holland and Arcadia. My perception has certainly changed since the visit.

Yetiman420, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of bbeane
3.63/5  rDev -20.6%

Has a nice look about it, and there was a fairly good amount of people there that looked to be enjoying themselves. The service was ok, once we finally got service... probably sat at the table with no waitress for 10 minutes. Beer selection was good... some of the normal all the time stuff as well as some brewery only releases. Plenty on the menu to choose from, as well as a few choices for non meat eaters... everybody in our group enjoyed the food. Price was pretty reasonable. My gf and I both had a couple pints as well as a few of the 5oz samples, split a sandwich, and split an app... bill was around $40.

Next time I make it out to Michigan, I'll definately try to go back.

CHEERS!!

bbeane, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -20.1%

Great Beer -- Need I Say More? Okay then... Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Great Beer!

bueccd, Apr 04, 2013
Photo of emma_problema
3.65/5  rDev -20.1%

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!

emma_problema, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of BStalf21
3.7/5  rDev -19%

As a big fan of Founders beers I couldn't help being disappointed with my visit to there brewpub. As a first time customer I was confused with the flow and set up. You walk in and their really isn't anything directing you or anyone helping you. Seems pretty disorganized. It's a very large wide open bar. Cafeteria style serving system. I had to wonder to find a place to sit, menu's, beer lists, and stand in line's.

Once I figured out the system it was ok. But I'm not a big fan of standing in line every time I want a beer or retrieving my food when a buzzer goes off. There were a few waitress walking around mostly cleaning up after people, but they would take drink orders if they happened to come your way at the right time. Never felt like they were checking on me though.

The Food was very good, deli style sandwiches named after their beers. And, all the typical offerings were great on tap as to be expected from Founders beer. They brewpub only offering for the most part I wasn't that thrilled with. I thought they were good but wouldn't order them again. They seemed to be playing it safe on a couple styles appealing to the masses which I suppose I cant fault them for, but I was hoping for more.

The gift shop/beer to go pick up left a lot to be desired as well. Although, the person working in there was the most helpful I dealt with in my entire visit.

BStalf21, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -18.6%

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.

chinchill, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of AaronGreenman
3.73/5  rDev -18.4%

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.

AaronGreenman, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of Reneejane
3.73/5  rDev -18.4%

The atmosphere was appropriately industrial. They are named after their original brewing locale, a foundry, and they seem to carry that heritage forward. There was a great brewing setup in the back with lots of glass windows so you could really watch what was happening. We visited on a Saturday night, and I felt the music was way too loud and intrusive. But, the saving grace was a ridiculously cheap juke box. It wasn't a place for a cozy evening though! We got food at the cafe counter. I felt that for cafe type food, they did a good job, but I had wanted something more substantive than sandwiches, so I was actually a little disappointed. Read the menu first, and decide if you want to eat elsewhere!

Now onto the beer, there was a huge selection of beers on tap. I really enjoy the Founders brand of beer and I was not disappointed one bit by the array of beers that were on tap that evening. I also liked the very diverse styles available on any given night.

I don't think I've ever rated something with a one dollar sign. But, when the bill came we were stunned at how inexpensive it was! The beer is all very reasonably priced and the sandwiches are sandwich-priced. So, actually pretty cheap.

Reneejane, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of chillwave22
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

chillwave22, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of mynie
3.8/5  rDev -16.8%

The building is very long. While I wasn't in Grand Rapids long enough to get a full read on the place, this seemed to be tucked into a fairly touristy area (at least, as touristy as Grand Rapids gets), but I'd say the crowd was 90-odd percent local. Middling Michigan bands were playing loudly in the bar area, but since the building is very long the bar area stretched out forever and you could ignore them if you wanted to.

The good:
Decent vibes, good prices. As busy as they were, they were well-staffed and the staff was on top of their shit. They had a nice gift shop off to the side, so that if you wanted to buy take-home beer you didn't need to bother the bartender. All the beers on tap were Founders, and Founders makes excellent beer. Also, there was a nice big patio.

The bad:
No growlers. No guest taps. No rare taps. Nothing I couldn't easily find in bottles. This isn't the biggest crime, I guess, since Founders regularly offers a great selection of wonderful beer. But usually brewers give you a little something as a reward for visiting them, you know?

Founders is worth stopping at just for what they've done to help out the craft beer industry, just to be able to say that you've been there. Just don't expect anything mind blowing.

mynie, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of Jschuster
3.81/5  rDev -16.6%

Only been there for lunch or dinner. They do have live music, but haven't seen a show there. Not a problem, as the only reason to go to Founders is for the beer. Oh, and the sandwiches - they do serve a good, solid sandwich. Personal favorite: 'Devil Dancer'. The grilled cheese is good, too. Their hummus/olive tapenade appetizer is good for sharing with a small party of friends.

Rotating taps - check their (pretty well-designed) website for specifics. They have a good selection of core brews. And some fringe experiments that are... 'interesting'. The waitstaff and bartenders are happy to explain some of the odder choices on tap. Small samples are available, gratis.

Only complaints would be: 1) Acoustics. Hardwood floors and an industrial-style vaulted ceiling means echoes abound. Problem gets worse as the evening goes on and folks get... erm... happier. 2) It can be hard to get the attention of the waitstaff at times. They just sort of ... disappear for long , thirsty periods. Not a big problem; just leaves a body wander up to the bar for a refill, lest one shrivel up from dehydration.

Overall, they do a very good job with food and drink. One of my favorite places.

Jschuster, Mar 05, 2013
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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 648 ratings.