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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
Based on:
117 Beers
112,418 Hads
Place Score: 98
Reviews: 287
Visits: 951
Avg: 4.41
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

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 287 | Visits: 951
Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
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

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Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of qcbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
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?...

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Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Took a 3 hour road trip from my Friends place in Indiana to check out the home of the Mighty KBS and Nemesis brews. We got there and needed to find a side street to park on because the lot they had was kind of small and filled up already. The look of the place seemed like it might have been an old loading dock of some kind. There were several retractable windows/doors that opened up so people could sit either inside or outside. The place was full so my friend and I sat outside. We ordered a few beers at the bar trying the Apricot Swarm, the Dirty Darkness and the Syrup Noche. All the beers we had were great. The sandwich my friend ordered was also great according to him. The place had a very friendly environment going on there. The employees were knowledgeable and helpful on suggestions about food and beer. I would have loved to hang out longer here, I easily could have with all the stuff they had to try there but due to time frame I was in we had to pack it in early. I look forward to possibly going back there though. It was a great place.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +13.4%

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!

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of joe1510
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

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.

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Photo of drtth
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Reviewed from notes taken on a visit about a year ago.

Really liked this place. Lots of open space. Glass separates the dining hall from the brewing equipment so its possible to both eat and watch.

The quality of the beers is high and the service was good. Food was not exceptional but good nevertheless.

The selection of beers was very good when looking to have something from Founders.

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Photo of cratez
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of frazbri
4.72/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I like the new digs even better than the old. It's a bigger, better version of Founders. Founders is fantastic.

old review follows. I was at Founders about 10:30 on a Friday night. I almost expected this place to be smaller. It is small, but it had an open feel due mostly to its high ceilings. When I looked at the jukebox, I knew this was my kind of place. Frank Zappa, the Pixies, Tom Waits; I had to throw a couple of bucks in that.

Now to the important stuff, beer. Twelve beers on the board. I started with the Chocolate Rye Porter and it was delicious. I then tried the Oatmeal Stout, it wasn't as good as the CR Porter. Then ended with a tasty glass of Dirty Bastard. I was hoping to try the Devil Dancer, but I missed out. I guess that is one drawback when you rotate so many beers.

I didn't quiz the waitress on her beer knowledge. It was a Friday night, and she had quite a few patrons to serve. The waitress was friendly and served us quickly. No food is served, except for popcorn and peanuts.

This is a showcase for a fine brewer. If you are anywhere near Grand Rapids, stop here for a beer. This was the highlight of my weekend in Michigan.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.86/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I’d rave more about Founders if only I could visit more often! Seriously cool place to drink some amazing brews. Came here for only the second time over the holidays. Arrived early enough to get a seat at the bar. In addition to their year-round line up they keep some specialties and one-offs on draught, always a welcome sign. Didn’t order food, just peanuts—which, I learned, you are to toss on the floor. If you go be sure to visit the merch shop and pick up some bottles. And live music on the weekends. Can’t go wrong.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Nice place in a renovated old buidling right on the river in downtown Grand Rapids. Not quite a neighborhood pub feeling but close. Lots of 4-6 person tables spread out across the floor. Pool table and 1 or 2 dart boards greet you as you walk in. Bar is in the back right corner with a cooler full of 6-packs and singles to go. Bar is relatively small and always seems to be full. Selection constantly changes and usually they 10-12 beers on draught. Brewing facility is in back of the bar and you can see the conditioning tanks. Have never been there when anyone can provide a guided tour but I think it would be worth it. If business or pleasure brings you to Grand Rapids, well worth seeking out Founders for several beers. Only issue is that they don't serve food. They do provide free popcorn.

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Photo of Phatz
4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Driving down the street the navigation system say "destination ahead on the right" then "you have arrived" The building to our right is an absolutely *monstrous* five story building the runs the length of an entire block. The name on the building says Brass Works Building. The light came on, it never occurred to me that Founder Brewing Company was located in an old Brass Foundry. Seems obvious now. My first thought was "this is the biggest 'Micro' Brewery I have ever seen!" Entering the building I realized Founders is only one of the tenants in the amazing building. The building is gorgeous the floors, the art, the high ceilings, the woodwork and the door ways, and this is all wondering the halls before Founders even opened the door on Sunday at 3pm. When we walked in the Founders door the floors were simple the ceiling high and unfinished with a warehouse feel but nice. They had 10 beers on tap and not a single one less than exceptional.
Imagine Kentucky Breakfast Stout on tap at the brewery. Oh my God! and they served all beer in the appropriate glassware.
Tap List:
Centennial IPA
Black Rye
Pale Ale
Oatmeal Stout on nitro
The Imperial Stout
Bourbon Maple Porter **beyond EXCEPTIONAL**
Devil Dancer DIPA
Kentucky Breakfast Stout *need I say more*
Backwoods Bastard
They had rubbed out Rubaeus and Red Rye off the chalk board, before we got there. They have capacity for 12 drafts.

There was a pool table, jukebox, and carryout cooler with no KBS in it but otherwise perfect. Sever was very helpful. No food available on Sundays but they do have menus of local restaurants that will deliver to Founders. You can sit there at the bar and have delivery brought to you. Now that is something new! We just brought some of our munchies in the car. This place is worth the trip. Find a way to get there one day. Early on a Sunday it is nice and quite, but we weren’t the only people waiting for them to unlock the door. Clearly, the place gets a lot of traffic.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of gopens44
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

First off, let me say this above all - the staff breaks their friggin' backs to take care of clientele. Period. A lot of high end restaurants could learn a thing or two about service from this staff. Food was very good and fit the beer lineup very well. Speaking of, the lineup is always well balanced and it's Founder's beer, so you know the quality is there. No beef about the prices, and a good time all around. For what it's worth, this place is flush with hipster atmosphere. Doesn't play well with this metalhead, but beer society isn't a place to activate divisionary, so party on hipsters, hippies, bangers and whatever else. Come here and enjoy beer regardless of who you are.

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Photo of Florida9
3.48/5  rDev -21.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

What can I say?

I was excited to come to Founders. It was stop three on my mini-brewery excursion and I was looking forward to grabbing some beers from one of the greats.

Founder's sort of sticks out in a gentrifying neighborhood on the South side of Grand Rapids. There is a newish condo complex across the street with "hop" in it's name. I wonder if its a coincidence or not...

As for the brewpub, it's essentially a large warehouse-type set up. It's just one extremely large room with a bar along one wall. There were tables set up during my visit, but none of them are permanent. From what I can tell, Founder's gets bands on a regular basis and the space can be a venue as well as a brewpub. Multi-purpose I suppose. However, from a brewpub perspective, it's a shitty set up. There is no hostess so you don't where to go or where to sit or what.

Never-the-less, found a table after some searching. But no waiter. and no menu. and no beer menu. all except what is written on the chalkboards. Is this how it's supposed to work? I'm supposed to get up and walk half-way across the restaurant to stare at the fucking wall every time I want to make a decision about what to drink or eat. What a pain in the ass. (as it turns out - there are menus, my server was just a dipshit).

So, speaking of my server. This guy probably shouldn't be a server. Didn't bring us any menus, didn't offer any suggestions. When I asked about one of the only beers available that I've never heard of, the Mister E Froot, he was incapable of describing it. I asked him to try. He noted it was unique. Okay... what about the yeast, I asked, attempting to get some sort of description or idea of what this beer resembled. "Founder's uses the same yeast in every of their beers." I found that interesting, but whatever. So is it like a lambic? No was the reply. How about Brett, does it have brett in it? What is brett? he asked. You know, like a sour, is it a sour? No. Okay, I give up, twenty questions is over, just bring me the fucking beer.

I am hopeful my server was an anomaly. However, while staring at the beer list over the bar, it wasn't anyone even attempted to even assist me. Never, not once. I guess Founder's just isn't a very helpful place.

As for the food, it's sandwiches and pizza made out of bread that you could otherwise use to make a sandwich. The sandwiches aren't bad. Some show creativity. And they're well made. But in the end they are just sandwiches and they're nothing all that special.

Selection was decent, but there were only two brewery-only beers available on my visit. Considering I was coming all the way from Chicago, I was hoping for a little more pizzazz, a little something to make the trip worthwhile. Two brewery-only beers and a dozen beers I didn't need to leave Illinois to drink was a little bit of a let down.

Overall, the place was just okay. I imagine the vibe would be a lot different at night, but I really didn't get the feeling this was a place to kick back and sip a beer. It just felt like they were catering to the "let's go out and get drunk" crowd and I'm way passed that stage.

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Photo of jim102864
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

At last, and after going way out of my way to get there, I arrived at Founders. A very noisy, barn-like atmosphere with lots of chatter and music on the house system. The brewing tanks are at one end of the building and may be viewed through clear glass. A large, long bar that seats about 30 hugs one side of the brick and steel building. It has a very barny, industrial feel to it, but somehow, it makes sense. It's like an American version of an old German beer hall. Young twenty-something guys and girls behind the bar. Got the bad news KBS wasn't available but made up for it with several spectacular Canadian Breakfast Stouts. Old Curmugeon, Double Trouble DIPA and several others were also on tap. The OC and CBS were both served in 9 oz or 12 oz pilsner glasses. Yakked with two locals and bought 'em each a CBS (at $7.50 per mind you). Also enjoyed a chicken sandwich with bacon and some dip and nachos. Double Trouble, OC, and a few others were the only items available for purchase. A perfect facility to house one of the best breweries in America.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited Founders on a recent road trip with the girlfriend.

The first thing that struck me was how big the place was. Like a giant auditorium for beer geeks with a bar that spans almost the entire length of it. Ample seating and buzzing with activity even during the middle of the day. Really a beer lover's dream.

Beer is served at the right temperature in the proper glassware with a coaster. Can't complain. Extra points for the way the place is decorated and the quality of the beers themselves.

Service was above average. Even though it was packed when we got there, there were a ton of bartenders around and we always got served quickly and courteously.

The selection was great. About 6 year-round brews, 4-5 seasonals, and 2-3 "special" beers on tap as well as a nitro-tap. Given the quality of everything that Founders makes, an above average score is deserved here.

Really the highlight of the trip for me. Their Cashew Mountain Brown and Mister E Froot were completely amazing and the place was much larger, well serviced, and impressive than I expected. A real can't miss destination if you're in Michigan.

Pints ranged from $3.25-$5.00 for their special offerings. Bud Lights in my area start at $4.00. Need I say more? I steal in my opinion.

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Photo of Fluffheady
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

What a cool brewpub. It’s an absolute must visit if you’re a beer dork. Or if you’re not. It gets crowded, but they have a dedicated service area that keeps everything moving. The food comes from a window. Basically everything is self service, but in a place this big and busy, it works the best.

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Photo of david131
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I made my way up to the pub for the Kentucky Breakfast Stout release with some of my buddies. The place is absolutely gorgeous with lots of natural lighting and glass walls to see into the brewery. The no smoking is great as well. The beers seemed to be served at proper temperatures and were about standard prices. The only food we got was some kind of warm beer cheese platter that was very enjoyable. I wasn't blown away with the tap list, but it was impressive. Off the top of my head they had: Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Imperial Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Frangelic Stout, Rubaeus, Centennial IPA, Pale Ale,and Dirty Bastard. The service was spectacular. The entire wait staff was very polite, attentive, and in good humor. It is so refreshing to see people in the service industry that don't seem annoyed. Overall, it was a very worthwhile trip and it's breweries and trips like this that make me sad that I am leaving the state.

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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
98 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.