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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.97/5
Based on:
113 Beers
99,162 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 804
Reviews: 275
rAvg: 4.57
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:
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: 804 | Reviews: 275 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Commando
3.59/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.59/5  rDev -21.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

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.

Photo of Yetiman420
3.6/5  rDev -21.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of bbeane
3.63/5  rDev -20.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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!!

Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -20.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

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!

Photo of emma_problema
3.65/5  rDev -20.1%
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!

Photo of BStalf21
3.7/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

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.

Photo of MysticRuler
3.72/5  rDev -18.6%

Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

Photo of AaronGreenman
3.73/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

Photo of Reneejane
3.73/5  rDev -18.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

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.

Photo of LarooG
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of cfrobrew
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of chillwave22
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of austintouhill
3.76/5  rDev -17.7%

Photo of mynie
3.8/5  rDev -16.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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.

Photo of Jschuster
3.81/5  rDev -16.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.86/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Reviewed on 6/27/2010.

Stopped by here on a Tuesday afternoon and it was fairly busy, although this is a huge place so there is plenty of room. We sat outside on the patio which was nice and pleasant. The staff was friendly and attentive. There are many taps, although most are bottled offerings with maybe 4-5 tap only selections (including CBS!). Although I didn't get any food, they do have an extensive sandwich menu (and the sandwiches looked pretty tasty!). All in all, a nice place to visit. I found the tap-only beer to be hit-or-miss so that was a little disappointing, but if you are here for good beer you are sure to find something.

Photo of morimech
3.88/5  rDev -15.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I had no idea what to expect when I went into Founders. Certainly not the huge warehouse with a bar in it. The weather was nice so they had the doors to the outside open as well creating even more space. There could of been a hundred people in there and it still looked empty. There is one TV right in the center of the bar. Beer selections are written on the chalk boards. Disappointingly there was only one brewery only selection. I know the rest of the beer is very good, but I wanted something more special besides a 4% ABV pale ale. Menu consists of sandwiches and pizzas. The sandwich I did get was good if not a little uninspired. Service was prompt and also a little cold. You can tell these people see a lot of customers in a day.

Overall this was not a comfortable place to enjoy beer. Too big and commercial. Even have a giftshop on one end of the building. I hope Surly does not follow this model when they build their destination brewpub.

Photo of drseamus
3.91/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I was at the old place back in August and this is from notes:

I love Founders' beers. Their bar however, was a bit crazy. We inadvertently went on a night with a band and the room was ear-shatteringly loud and filled with more smoke than a chain smoker's car. The beers however, are awesome. I got a lot of great beers on tap and actually discovered a deeper appreciation for the Kentucky Breakfast Stout after having it on tap. All the bar staff were helpful and fast which was impressive because it was wicked busy. I'm definitely going to have to check out the new place.

Photo of leftmindedrighty
3.95/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Stopped here for lunch on a brewery road trip ending with Dark Lord Day

First off, I got a parking spot right in front of the place, so I was happy about that. Across the street was "Pay to Park" type places so I was a bit weary at first.

The place is not overly fancy, which I love. It looks like a quality place to sit, hang out, and enjoy some great beer. I sat at the bar and ordered an Oatmeal Stout, which was great.

I had the Dirty Bastard Sandwich, and it was freakin awesome. One of the best sandwiches I've had in a while. While I'm not sure if all of their sandwiches are the same, mine was huge, I couldn't even finish it.

The service was Ok, since I was in no rush, I really didn't care about the quality of service. If I needed anything, I received it in a respectable amount of time. I ended up having the Backwards Bastard before I left, but nothing else. Which leads me to my only gripe about the place. There were only three session beers on tap, all the rest were high gravity brews. While thats awesome if I wasn't driving, I was very limited to what I could drink.

I also picked up a four pack of the Kentucky Breakfast Stout and a four pack of the Devil Dancer which really made my day.

Photo of PabstBlue
3.95/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

As a big fan of their beers and their former location, I am a bit sad to say that I am not impressed by their new location. They still have the peanut shells on the ground, personal steins on the wall and great beer but the the new location is huge, loud and lacking the character that drew me to their old location. The noise is probably my largest problem with the place. The noise echoing off the walls makes is near impossible to have a conversation with your friend who is bellied up to the bar with you. The service is really great and it is not difficult to get one of their many delicious beer. While the beer and service is great, I think I'll go elsewhere until they find a way to dampen the noise.

Photo of jjshutty
3.95/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

The old place was crowded, smoky, and loud when a band was playing. I have yet to be to the new place, and hopefully it is better than the old. I have heard great things about the new facility, so here goes.

The sandwiches are great for being what they are, sandwiches. However, I wish they served them later in the day and not just during lunch.

As for the beer I have no problems what so ever with any of them. Devil Dancer is by far my favorite, followed very closely with the Black Rye and Kentucky Breakfast.

Photo of buschbeer
3.95/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I stopped in for lunch on the way home from visiting my grandfather. This was my second foray on Founders. I got there about 11:30am on Friday. It was not real busy just the way I like it. I parked in the tiny lot out front. There is metered parking on the street. Founders is a large open bar. There is a stage to the left and the store is to the right.

I bellied up to the bar and had a Empire Strikes Bitter and a Devil Dancer. The menu consists of deli sandwiches and french bread pizzas. A lot of the sandwiches are named after their beers. I'm assuming that is to suggest a beer that pairs well. For Example I ordered a Curmudgeon sandwich, which probably pairs well with Curmudgeon.

The service was a LOT better on this visit. My first visit I had to scream and wave to get service. This time the wait staff was very attentive. The sandwich was adequate. It is a large sandwich so I took half of it home for another meal. I ordered kettle chips thinking that they were homemade. I got a single serving size bag of potato chips.

As far as the beer goes, there was not a whole lot that you can't get in bottles. I had the ESB. There was an oatmeal stout, and that was about it. The food is not exceptional, and most of the beers can be easily obtained in bottles.

Photo of cagocubs
3.98/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

A: A nice size complex with plenty of parking. Great full size patio outside adjoined to brewpub. When you get inside it has the feel of a large German drinking house, a lot of open area, noisy, and plenty of drinking going on. The only pitfall of this place is that it can get really crowded and hard to find even a place to comfortably sit and drink. You may have to wait for others to leave before you can find a good place to sit.

S: The place was packed, but the service never faltered. There are several servers walking around at all times to get you another beer. A friendly and knowledgeable staff that are excited about their job.

SE: A good, but not great selection. They have the keystone styles, but not enough of the special stuff. I asked if they had any unique brews and was told, "yes, but only for mug members" or something like that. Yeah, f me I only went out of my way to come here....Regardless, you will find something you like and have a chance to try a variety of styles.

F: I had the pulled pork sandwich named the Backwoods Bastard. A gigantic sandwich with good quality. A little too buttered up for my liking, but it is what it is. Still a good quality meal and value.

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 804 ratings.