Founders Brewing Company
Ratings: 623 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
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.
09-22-2009 01:30:44 | More by Reneejane
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.
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.
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.
06-19-2012 14:48:52 | More by mynie
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.
03-05-2013 01:56:24 | More by Jschuster
3.86/5 rDev -15.5%
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.
12-23-2010 21:51:13 | More by LilBeerDoctor
3.88/5 rDev -15.1%
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.
10-08-2011 16:32:37 | More by morimech
3.91/5 rDev -14.4%
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.
12-13-2007 18:32:16 | More by drseamus
3.95/5 rDev -13.6%
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.
05-01-2007 18:48:39 | More by leftmindedrighty
3.95/5 rDev -13.6%
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.
03-16-2008 18:37:41 | More by PabstBlue
3.95/5 rDev -13.6%
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.
12-12-2007 01:45:20 | More by jjshutty
3.95/5 rDev -13.6%
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.
06-10-2012 13:49:36 | More by buschbeer
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 623 ratings.