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Founders Brewing Company

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

665 Ratings
Ratings: 665
Reviews: 270
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 8.75%
Active Beers: 148
Beer Ratings: 90,219
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: 665 | Reviews: 270 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRG1313
4.9/5  rDev +7.2%

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!

GRG1313, Apr 20, 2010
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 qcbrewer
4.36/5  rDev -4.6%

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?...

qcbrewer, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of Mothergoose03
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Mothergoose03, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

TX-Badger, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.39/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

MarcatGSB, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of Vogt52
4.4/5  rDev -3.7%

Vogt52, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

Kegatron, May 01, 2008
Photo of mattmarka1
5/5  rDev +9.4%

mattmarka1, Jan 14, 2014
Photo of david18
4/5  rDev -12.5%

david18, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%

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

kylehay2004, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.21/5  rDev -7.9%

I stopped by here after Bell’s on my summer beer tour. The building is something like the “brass works building” which is a large brick structure. The entrance is on west side of the building near the south entrance. IF you find that, shift fire to your right, and there you’ll be. I got there a half hour before opening time. I pled my case to the dude working there in the morning with his beautiful dog and I got let in.

The place seems like a very friendly dive with a very warn feeling that suggests pretty wild weekends. Seems that it’s a music venue too, so that could pack the crowd in. There are mostly little wooden tables spaced about with the main bar in the back right corner and a smaller one in the left.

On tap were 13 founders beers. Wow. Can’t ask for much more especially when two of them were the Breakfast Stout and the Kentucky Breakfast. Damn. This made me a happy man. 13 beers seemed a lot for a small pub. The dude, which turned out to be one of the junior brewers said that this was very atypical. None the less, I was pleased.

Service was fine. There really wasn’t anyone there, so I can’t comment on much. The girl there seemed really on top of things with all things considered.

I liked the simplicity of this joint. I’d like to stop by on a Friday night to see what kind of clientèle it attracts. I should also note that I left this day with a growler of Devil Dancer, three t-shirts and a pint glass.

DarkerTheBetter, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of Gatordaddy
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Gatordaddy, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of lackenhauser
4.25/5  rDev -7%

Nice industrial type feel to the place. Low key and relaxed. The brew house is housed behind some big windows. I could make out the bottling line going in the back.

Like their bottled products all the quality is good. The beers were certainly fresh and served at the proper temps. Service was quick and friendly and wasnt harried. More then happy to stand and talk to us and answer any questions.

Selection was great. Some of my favorites wern't there but there was plenty to make up for that fact. A few draft only choices as well.

They only serve sandwiches 11am to 2 pm. I had a half sandwich as I wasnt hungry. My friends and I all agreed they were good.

All in all a great place. I have wanted to get here for ages and it was well worth it. I will be back.

Note-talking to the bartender she said they will fill any growler from another brewey. Saw a guy get a Roque one filled so I had to ask. She said they sell beer not growlers so it doesnt bother them. I like that.

lackenhauser, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of joe1510
4.16/5  rDev -9%

Stopped by Founders the night before they moved from the Brassworks building. Got there pretty early, maybe 4:00-4:30 and the place was already busy. All tables were full and all barstools were full. Everyone I talked to was in a great mood and very friendly. This place lends itself well with the comfortable at ease atmosphere.

The quality of the beer was great although there were only 4 taps going when I stopped by. It looked like a few selections were just erased from the chalkboard. I believe after a barrel was kicked they just erased it instead of putting something new on since they were closing up the following day. IPA, Red's Rye, Dirty Bastard, and Breakfast Stout was on tap though and I thoroughly enjoyed my Breakfast Stout.

The service was very good, especially when the place was so busy and there was only one bartender working most of the time (a few waitresses). Recieved great service and was even able to buy a growler of Breakfast Stout. I was surprised, didn't think it would be offered for growler sales. Also picked up a nice Breakfast Stout pint glass. The prices were very reasonable along with the package sales from the cooler. I believe the growler, fill, glass, and 4-pack of Harvest Ale came to $31. The pints of Breakfast Stout were $5.

I'm anxious to stop at the new Founders when it opens but I will also miss this one. The atmosphere was comfortable and I had a great time. Everyone was there for good beer which is something else nice to see.

joe1510, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of Sparky44
4.25/5  rDev -7%

Sparky44, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of Dicers
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Dicers, May 19, 2014
Photo of cratez
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%

Came here for the 9th Annual Harvest Party with nicktbm and our better halves in October 2011.

Atmosphere: big open air taproom, chalkboard draught list hovers over a massive bar, plenty of seating inside and on the patio, pool table and jukebox are a nice touch, live music and young crowd provided an awesome party vibe, never seen so many college girls drinking craft beer in one place. A beer geek's utopia.

Service: fast efficient bartenders are quick with the drink orders and capable of suggesting beers based on specific tastes. Kitchen puts out food in decent time.

Selection: had a Harvest Ale, Berserker 37, Pale Ale, and Honey Harvest on tap and a bottle of Breakfast Stout to go. Couldn't understand why I wasn't allowed to drink the bottle in the bar (according to the server), but the draught beers were delicious so I didn't really mind.

Food: split a veggie French bread pizza with the lady and munched down a loaded bratwurst sausage as well. Both dishes tasted great and the prices are dirt cheap.

Overall: I would probably go to Founders on a daily basis if I lived in the area. Between the world-beating beers, fun and approachable atmosphere, friendly patrons, and tasty, affordable food, this brewery embodies North American craft beer culture. No need to ponder whether or not you should visit. Just come and you won't regret it.

cratez, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Lynn
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Lynn, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of brewandbbq
4.28/5  rDev -6.3%

Stopped in here for the KBS release party.
A 15 minute walk from the Days Inn.

The place was packed but I was able to get a single seat at the bar next to the "beer express line".

Cavernous brewpub with what looked like roll-up garage doors spanning the front. Outdoor seating as well. Tons of tables and a very long bar with many people that day. Draught beers clearly marked on the chaulkboard with prices and sizes of the pour. Great. Artwork from the labels on the opposite wall. Cool.

The service was good considering the masses in attendance. Many working the bar area and being where I was, I was never out of earshot for long of any one particular barkeep.
It did look like that there was no table service though. I didn't see any waitstaff going over to the tables except for an occasional visit from a buddy.

Beer selection was terrific. I had a nitro KBS, Brown Mountain Maple, and a FULL PINT of Double Trouble. I am so sick of bars serving up the hoppy beers in 10oz tulip glasses for $8, and Founders delivered here big time.
They also had the Canadian Breakfast stout as well as a barrel aged Red and many others.

Food is limited to sandwiches which are ordered from a window. There is a chaulkboard next to the window with am extremely lenghty disclaimer about the long prep time of the sandwiches. It really doesn't say why it takes so long, but just that be prepared or go elsewhere. Funny but kind of off-putting.
I had the Louis Ruben which rocked. I was starving and it was tasty albiet expensive ($8.00). It came with no chips or fries, but the pickle was very good.

I was dissapointed that I had missed out on bottles of KBS. Apparently they had sold out before noon. Wow.

I'd love to come back. Kuhnhenn should come take notes on this place.

brewandbbq, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.66/5  rDev +2%

Sweemzander and I went in to Founders for their Black Party which more than explains the massive crowd we fought while we were there. The service also took a small hit but the location itself was awesome. My first time to possibly my favorite brewery, we walked up the side of the building passed a massive grain silo (or so it looked like) and a long outdoor raised patio along the front of the building. I didn't notice until my second walk in after getting my jacket that hops were growing in wooden bushels embedded in the asphalt just below the outdoor patio. Once inside (which took a while after climbing the steps), the taproom was a long rectangle with large glass garage doors, that could open in the summer, along one side and a long bar on the opposite side. From what I remember, there was a pool table or two to the right of the entrance and down a small hall were the bathrooms. Most everything was dark wood paneling. Posters of label art were framed and hung along the stretch of wall above the garage doors and some apparel like Founders cycling shirts for $75 hung above the bar.

To the far left of the entrance was a tall glass wall. Behind that glass wall was where, presumably, all the magic happened. I tried getting a good look through but the band's stage equipment was set up. This is one of the parts I'm disappointed I didn't see much of with the place as packed as it was.

The beer was fantastic and the quality was outstanding, not a single issue with the many beers we tried. The price was great too! $5 for an 8 oz pour into a snifter, $6 for the nitro-tap KBS, $7 for a 12 oz high-gravity beer. And I believe the class one beers were $4.50 a 12 oz pour. I wanted to try the food, specifically the Backwoods Bastard soaked brats, but by the time I got around to getting my ass up from the table our group claimed, they were all gone. Not that I blame them. I waited far too long. Instead I opted for another beer.

The service was great save for a bit of a hiccup, and not because of how busy it was since they did a great job despite the heavy flowing traffic of thirsty founders-goers. The reason, and I'm not basing my rating all on this experience, but one of the bartenders got an attitude with Sweem because after pouring and setting down two glasses of different black beer, Sweem asked, "which is which" to which the bartender replied snidely, "are you serious?!" Other than that the service was all pleasant and honestly, with how much of a mad house it was there, I can't really hold it against him that much.

The selection was fantastic as well. For obvious reasons most of the beer offered was Founders dark beers, but it was kept varied enough in style with others available that one who didn't like black beer could still enjoy something else. Why they'd come to Black Party however, is beyond me.

Founders still remains one of my favorite breweries of all time and this experience, as crazy as it was, elevated them higher on the list. I hope to make it back on a slow night, possibly a Monday or Tuesday, if I ever get the chance. I'd love to take in the atmosphere to a greater extent as well as enjoy some of their deli offerings.

BeerFMAndy, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

wrightst, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of drtth
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

drtth, Aug 27, 2014
Photo of MSandahl23
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

MSandahl23, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of CraigTravor
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

CraigTravor, Dec 27, 2013
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.