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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.97/5
Based on:
114 Beers
98,864 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 802
Reviews: 275
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 10.5%
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: 802 | Reviews: 275 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
3.98/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Visited on 17-Jul-09 as part of the Michigan tour.

Atmosphere: The tasting room is wide open with a slew of tables, both inside and outside. A long bar greets you on entrance, with the kithcen at right.

Quality: The waitstaff ignored my repeated cajoles for a KBS growler. Other than that, the whole order your own food thing is strange and costs them service points on principle. Glassware did come to us with lipstick marks from a previous drinker.

Service: Drinks were from a server but not food. WTF? This sits in the precarious middle ground.

Selection: 8 or so regular beers on tap with Maple Mountain Brown, KBS, BA Red's Rye and BA Imperial Stout were special additions. A very nice line-up.

Food: My Godfather was delicious and the other finger food that we got were passable. I'd visit again just for the stout beers.

Photo of aoampm
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Super dank dirty open bar room, nothing more nothing less. All wood, killer (loud!) jukebox, and tons of peanut shells on the floor. Super cool clientele, and since this damn city (although beautiful in many ways) closes so freakin' early this place is definately one of the few true "hot spots" in this city. It's open until 2am as well, nice, and for this town rare! Quality of the beers is awesome and at around $3.50 a pint a steal! Service is fast, friendly and to the point. Perfect. Selection is great as well 10 killer draughts with breakfast stout, 2003 imperial stout, and a new double ipa on tap as well. I also got to talk to the brewers here, and they were full of info, to the point, and super down to earth guys....two BIG thumbs up all around for this place...Killer.

Photo of SmashPants
4/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of david18
4/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of spointon
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of BillRoth
4.39/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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 Deuane
4.33/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Founders, Founders, Founders! Having been to the old place a couple of times I was so looking forward to my first visit to the new and improved facility. We visited twice...once on a VERY busy Black Friday night and then the following day at opening...like night and day visits. Good thing for the Saturday visit saving the ass of Friday's cluster!

New bar which is very long. Big, open room much like before with the "trademark" chalk boards above the bar displaying the offerings. Big garage doors to open things up in season or keep out the cold Michigan winter. Nice touch with the enclosed and heated smoking chamber...nice for the smokers and nice for the non-smokers!

Service was hectic on Friday with three different people kinda taking care of us...we really didn't wait for long between drinks but our check took FOREVER! Saturday was much better with personalized service and lots of chatting with the staff.

14 beers on tap and the Friday night firkin. A few pub exclusive brews on tap to include the divine Espresso Nitro Porter!

A well thought out and fresh selection of deli sandwiches with quality to go withs. We had two very nice sandwiches with a chips and guacamole side to die for. The guac was plentiful, homemade and garlicy!

All in all the new Founders is better than the old and easily one of the premier beer places not only in Michigan but in the US. A must see and do place when in GR.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Ate lunch here and had a sampler of beers.

Nice atmosphere, I like the industrial feel to the building and tables. Service was fine, it seems like they do a waiter-by-committee arraignment as we had several different people serve use drinks, food, check on us, etc.

Beer selection was good - I think they had 13 beers on tap - the regulars and then the seasonal or limited beer - which was Devil Dancer. Beer was great as always from them.

Food is limited to deli sandwiches, but they do a great job. Very tasty and huge.

Photo of Bung
4.46/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Large building in an old warehouse. Much better than their old facility, which was in kind of a pretentious apartment/condo building. Open atmosphere, but the wood throughout the building makes it warm enough. Inviting for the hippie freaks, which most good brewpubs are. Nearly all their regular beers are on tap, plus a couple extras. Wish they had some more bottles for purchase. It appears people traveling from afar are dissappointed their is no reward for their travel. Personally I like the fact I do not have to live near them to get their brews, unlike ALL the other breweries that compete with Founders top offerings.(Three Floydds, etc.) Bells is about the only other good brewery you can also widely get their offerings without having to wait in a line wrapped around their dumpy little building and parking lot. So in the end, if you are looking for some place that you are special to have found, this is not it. If you want a place to get some fine craft beers, listen to some music, this place is what you're looking for.
Visit 5/5/09. Founders is probably the best dark(porter, stout) brewer around. There may be others that have 1 or 2 better than any given Founders, but Founders stable of stouts and porters might be able to be matched, but not beaten.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.36/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Visited a couple of times over the weekend during the 2011 KBS release party.

The atmosphere in this place is great. It is very big with lots of tables and a huge bar. The service was generally knowledgeable and friendly and the prices were very good for the quality of beer being served.

Had some KBS on tap as well as the Oatmeal Stout and Imperial Stout. Overall tap selection was very good - a good mix of the regular lineup, seasonals and some special brews.

I will definitely return some day soon...

Photo of GRG1313
4.9/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is without question one of the best craft breweries in the country. Every beer is just top notch and not only worth tasting but worth drinking.

KBS is a stout by which others are judged, and that's just the beginning. Other barrel aged stouts are exceptional, with the "draft only" Black Biscuit being one of the best beers in the country...period!

The staff is beyond knowledgable and could not be more friendly or accomodating. The selection of beers available is extensive and includes the rare and hard to get and the more extreme.

This is a brewery that really cares about its partrons and does all in its power to generate good will, good beer, future customers and provide the best product possible. This place is so good it's almost "an event" to go and drink and eat.

Great place!

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 qcbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
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?...

Photo of cfrobrew
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of Mothergoose03
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of Vogt52
4.4/5  rDev -3.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a very busy place. Lots of seating and very open makes it a loud atmosphere but too bad. Bar service is good, wait service is average. Founders has an excellent reputation and it lives up to it. The quality was excellent but the broadness of the selection was only average. You can get free peanuts. Of course try the breakfast stout. No flights but the small samples are relatively inexpensive. Their werw a decent specialty beers. Parking is sparse compared to the seating . I guess overall the service could be better for the level of business, otherwise a decent brewpub

Photo of mattmarka1
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Dang - this place is HUGE! Hit it on a Wednesday night around 5:30pm and it was packed. Managed to find a seat at the bar. Friendly workers even though they were super busy. The ordering workflow is a bit funky (beer and food orders are separate areas/lines) but whatever. Food was damn good - the bacon potatoe salad was delish! Obviously Founders is a must visit if you are in the area. CHEERS!

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.39/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

After much anticipation, we finally arrived at the new Founders Tap House (attached to the new brewing facility) that just opened last November. As we walk up, I immediately like it. Nice wide front with an outside seating area (which was only being used by smokers at this time because of how cold it was) and plenty of parking available in the front and on the sides. The inside is spacious as well, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light from the windows. At the far end is a stage (they offer live music a couple of times a week, including this night) and behind that gives a windowed view into the brew house. There are lots of tables to sit at scattered throughout for seating (complete with the Founders logo emblazoned on the seat backs) but it's the large 25 seat mahogany S shaped bar that takes center stage. It retains a classic yet contemporary look (complete with TVs to watch the ball games) and I absolutely loved the stain glassed Founders logo behind it. The overall feel is just tremendous and I would expect nothing else from such a classy brewery.

We lucked into an open table (which wasn't bad seeing how it was almost 7:30 pm on a Saturday night) and checked out the tap list. There were 4 staples on (Pale Ale, IPA, Red's Rye, and Dirty Bastard), 4 exclusives (Solid Gold Ale, Porter, Vanilla Porter, and Oatmeal Stout), and then 2 seasonals (the Imperial Stout and Rubaeus). We all tried different ones with my personal favorite being the highly ranked Imperial Stout, of which I ended up having two. Naturally, everything was great and up to the high standards of Founder's beers.

I like the way they do their food service here. You order and pay for it yourself at a separate window (what I now call "Pizza Port" style) and then they buzz you when it's ready. The menu itself is a tad limited (they basically offer sandwiches, pizzas, and munchies) but the quality was top notch. I had the Rubin's Rueben, which was excellent, as was the fresh guacamole and chips that we all split for an appetizer. Our service was limited to drink service but our guy did a pretty commendable job. Although he messed up one of drink orders, he let us keep the wrong one for free, and then did a great job getting our group a bunch of merch even though the place was jammed packed by this point. I don't know what else I can say about this place. It was probably our most anticipated visit during our recent trek through Michigan and it totally delivered. A laid back and fun atmosphere coupled with some great food and do I really need to even mention the beer? This is a must hit on any Michigan beer tour.

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 802 ratings.