Founders Brewing Company
Ratings: 607 | Reviews: 265 | Display Reviews Only:
3.8/5 rDev -16.7%
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
4.36/5 rDev -4.4%
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?...
08-22-2013 22:53:37 | More by qcbrewer
4.39/5 rDev -3.7%
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.
12-17-2013 15:46:03 | More by MarcatGSB
4.4/5 rDev -3.5%
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.
05-01-2008 13:34:49 | More by Kegatron
4.21/5 rDev -7.7%
I stopped by here after Bells 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 youll 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 its 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. Cant 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 wasnt anyone there, so I cant comment on much. The girl there seemed really on top of things with all things considered.
I liked the simplicity of this joint. Id 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.
08-31-2007 20:46:15 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.15/5 rDev -9%
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
11-25-2011 22:15:39 | More by kylehay2004
4.25/5 rDev -6.8%
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.
08-24-2006 02:17:26 | More by lackenhauser
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 607 ratings.