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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.93/5
Based on:
116 Beers
27,159 Reviews
Place Score: 97
Reviews: 285
Visits: 939
rAvg: 4.38
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

Notes:
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: 285 | Visits: 939
Photo of SHDoyle
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I had high expectations for Founders and it didn't fail me. I was there on a Saturday and the place was packed from about noon until I left around five. Seemed to be a mix of not just out-of-towners (like me) but locals too. Servers and bartenders were attentive and on top of it as soon as your glass was empty. Food was above average for a brewery and the menu was surprisingly large.

I took the brewery tour as well, which I would highly recommend. Tour guides were very knowledgeable with lots of info about Founders history and operations that you probably won't get anywhere else. Moreover, the $30 tour included a five-beer tasting, another pint at the Taproom and a souvenir pint glass; tough to beat all that! (725 characters)

Photo of cerevisiae
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

As a lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids, MI area, I can't believe it took me nine years to check out Founders Brewing Company. Founders recently located their brewery and tap room a few blocks Southwest to 235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. They are now just a brief walk from the Van Andel Arena, and enjoy easy access to and from US-131.

My wife and I visited the new location on December 3, 2007 around 5-6PM, and found a light crowd, perhaps 15-20% of capacity--no real surprise for a Monday.

The Founders building is in a freshly renovated light-industrial area, with architecture reminiscent of a train station. The interior decor is heavy woods and dim lighting, with an ample patio area that promises to be hopping in warmer seasons. As is typical of microbreweries, the brewing area is visible at one end behind glass. I was a little surprised at the limited parking available on the premises. Even on this slow night, I had to poke around the block a bit for on-street parking.

The establishment offers a solid menu of deli-style sandwiches & pub fare via a food counter that is managed separately from the bar. If you're planning to eat, I recommend that you place your order and pay for your food as you arrive, then find your way to the bar or one of many tables. We had our choice of many tables on this visit.

We were quickly greeted by one of the bartenders who was also tending to the tables. My wife chose a pint of Founders Centennial IPA; I opted for the Dirty Bastard. $3.75 each. Also on tap were Red's Rye, Curmudgeon, Breakfast Stout and Devil Dancer. I was hoping for Kentucky Breakfast, but no joy. We each ordered a Reuben sandwich from the food counter, and were well satisfied with the taste & portion.

All in all--a good experience. Thumbs up for this visit, although I'd prefer more variety on tap, and a better parking experience. Perhaps I'm just too jaded by the suburbs. We'll be back. (1,940 characters)

Photo of DukeKensington
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place, even when crowded, maintains a pretty good atmosphere. I love the decor and the layout. Really nice to have a clear view into the actual brewery and get to see a little bit of brewing in action.

The service is excellent. Waiters/waitresses are quick and efficient, and best of all, they really seem to know their stuff when it comes to beer, or at least when it comes to Founders beer (and that's really all I need them to know). There have been more than a few tab mishaps in my many visits, but in a taproom this big, it's pretty much unavoidable, and they are always very sincere and apologetic about any errors on their part.

Founders is one of my favorite breweries, and their selection is why. A large variety of styles to be sampled from, and rarely anything that isn't a little different. It's usually a treat to head in here and see what brews they only have available on tap. I missed out on a black IPA a few months ago and was sorely disappointed. Hopefully they'll make it again next year.

One of the real big draws for the place is the food. I have many a friend who is more than willing to be my designated driver on a trip here if I'll just buy them a sandwich. Excellent deli selection, and excellent munchees.

Definitely worth the money spent. Plenty affordable, especially on $2 pint nights. Of course I always end up spending way more money than I intend to. It's hard to say no to that one last beer. (1,437 characters)

Photo of JoshVandy
4.6/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A- Great big, wide open area when you walk in with tons of tables and seating, and a pretty large bar area. Very spacious, but inviting.

Q- Obviously, it's Founders, and their beer is the real attraction when coming to the taproom. Everything is of top notch quality, including the food, merchandise and the beer. Growlers of most of their beer can be brought home as well, ranging between $9-16.

S- Great service, both at the bar and at a table. Servers come by about every 10 minutes, or whenever they see a glass running low. Bar service is also great, with the bartenders being very prompt and friendly. All of the staff is knowledgeable about any of the beers on tap, which is great.

S- Lots of selection, with all of the beers in Classes (1,2 and 3) based on availability. They always have some taproom only selections that are worth ordering as well. Great selection.

F- Interestingly, for just having sandwiches and a few appetizers, everything tastes very good and is not your typical bar food, with Fresh ingredients playing a big part in the sandwiches.

A great place to stop by if you're in the area, and an even better place to plan a trip to, as their beer alone is worth the trip. (1,200 characters)

Photo of PhineasGage
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is a cool looking place. From the huge porch to the gigantic bar, everything is neat and well maintained. Beer selection is pretty good, they had a few handles open (and no cashew mountain brown left.) The service was the best I had all weekend...this was the final destination on a weekend brewery/beerpub crawl. The brewery is very clean and fairly well organized, can't wait to see the place after the new expansion. The gift shop is nice as well, everything is well priced. Only problem is their 2xl fits like xl...guess I'm not built like the average michiganian. Overall great place, the food looked great, the beer was awesome. I highly recommend this place to anyone, and look forward to my next visit. Thanks again for everything Dave! (749 characters)

Photo of freehafe
4.73/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Very chill and inviting place to be, open area with lots of seating indoors and out, a place where you can throw peanuts on the floor and enjoy a good beer with friends.

Service is solid, they know beer and are very friendly.

The food menu is mostly sandwiches and some odds and ends like dips and pizza, all very tasty. This is not necessarily a place I'd go specifically to eat, but if I go there for a beer and am hungry, I won't be disappointed.

The beer, the reason to go here, is excellent. There is a solid selection with a good range of styles, list changes frequently, but is available online. Three classes of beers from the standards to the specialties.

Prices are very reasonable, especially compared to other bars in the area. I can get a good pint here for the price of a generic lager up the street.
Value is even better on Mondays for cheap pint night (very busy, but worth it). (901 characters)

Photo of hansgruber
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I absolutely love the taproom. The sandwiches are mindblowingly good in my opinion. Never disappointed with any selection. The beers are nicely priced and can easily be sampled. Always a good selection when I've been there. I only wish it were closer so I could go more than the couple times a year I usually do go there.
The wait staff are usually pretty attentive and knowledgeable.
They also have a nice selection of merchandise like glasses too.

Great place you won't be left disappointed!! (498 characters)

Photo of hmbrewer336
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

World class.

A: if you get here on a spring or fall day for lunch that is when it is best. Open the old garage doors and let the warm breeze through. All walks of life show up here. From blue collar to white collar, hippies, rednecks make this a very easy place to relax and people watch over some brew. People just sitting around playing cards shooting pool, and throwing darts. i never need to go there in Friday or Saturday night as it is almost impossible to find a seat. Can't stand how loud the live music gets either. So I don't go then.

Q: Best beer you can buy

S: Service is usually good except for busy nights. This tap room is massive.

S: alway have a ton of beer to choose from and all different styles. Almost all are top notch brews.

F: if you thought the beer was good, try sandwich. I know people who go to Founders and order a sandwich and don't even drink. Yeaaaah...it is that good! Took my brother there a week ago, he loves Ruebens. He said 2 bites into it " this is the best f@ck$ng Rueben I ever had" Well said.

V: $4 buck a pint. $5.50 for specialty beer? are you kidding? Food is very well priced too. (1,132 characters)

Photo of MudDrinker
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The interior is well put together - large, well-spaced bar extending across the entire dining room. The dining room/main hall is widely spaced with a high ceiling to give a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere no matter how crowded it gets. The front of the building is entirely a patio to control overflow, or for those crisp fall days and warm summer nights.

Bartenders are all friendly and open to questions, service is fast and reliable.

Food is delicious and proportions huge on the verge of ridiculous (vegetarian-friendly, one or two vegan-friendly options).

Of course, the beer is amazing. They have tiers based on rarity, seasonality, etc. When I went in it was a Saturday during lunch, all the "higher" tiered beers (seasonals and peculiar taphouse-exclusives) were all gone. Still, FBS (Breakfast Stout) and Dirty Bastard was on tap. Came away with a growler of Harvest Ale.
When they fill your growler, expect at most an inch of air at the top of it.

Bottom-line: If I lived in Grand Rapids, I would be in this place at least once a week. (1,048 characters)

Photo of Ferd577
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Loved the staff. They answer questions well, pour samples and never let your glass sit empty. The food (mostly sandwishes) are quality deli style, pickles and all. They have a huge assortment of beers on tap, many only available on tap, everything they will fill a growler with and you can bring your own from another brewery.

You can get everything they bottle as carry-out and the prices are way better than at the party store, $3 to $5 less per 4 or 6 pack. Their gift shop is pretty nice too boot. (502 characters)

Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Great Beer -- Need I Say More? Okay then... Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Beer, Great Beer! (265 characters)

Photo of Joethebeerpro
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Draft to snifter, ha I waited to tap this until KBS day 2013. This is the last of it folks, I was surprised it lasted 24 hours. Then again I didn’t tell a soul, surprise. The word still spread like wildfire, this pours thick and black and oily. with quiet a bit of mocha head... I have watched it dissipate down into a fingernails worth. I am waiting for it to get to the right temp and I have been enjoying the molasses, bourbon, burnt maple syrup, roasty nose. Almost there, probably 48-50 degrees F, roasty sweet, full + thick mouthfeel, glides over the tongue like chocolate syrup. Absolutely on the sweet side with maple taking the lead, this is not the worst thing that could happen folks. Its a sweet treat and quite wonderful. Finish is roasted malts and maple syrup and a little ashey. This beer is fantastic and I look forward to these guys doing this again sometime in four or five years perhaps. Interesting side note, I also had the chance to mix this equal parts with some KBS, aka KCBS. Holy Hell, talk about balancing the booze of KBS and the sweetness of CBS. Perfection in a glass, make that Founders. Seriously. (1,132 characters)

Photo of CMoPink
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I absolutely love Founder's. This place has an amazing setup and top notch service. They have bands often, and I'm always happy with the music that is playing. Haven't had any Founder's beers that aren't of superior quality and deliciousness. They do a lot of special release beers also. They serve some delicious food also, deli style sandwiches and appetizers. Grand Rapids best local brewery by far. (402 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I have been going to Founders since they were in their "startup" on Monroe in downtown GR. After those humble beginnings, they moved to a much larger facility on Grandville ave in downtown GR. After seeing their brand absolutely explode over the past several years they recently dumped several million into completely revamping the Brew Pub and they hit a home run with a complete overhaul on the drinking experience.

This place is a "destination" and I pinch myself to think it is in my own back yard. It features several garage style over head doors that were all open while I was their because it was a beautiful day. The recent renovations added two huge fire pits and several overhead heating lamps that make it nice to sit outside on even cold days and have a brew. From world class beer, to damn good deli sandwiches, to an open space where people are just their to have beer and socialize with friends, this place is truly one of a kind. I love that there aren't many TV's (maybe 1 that I saw) because that isn't what this place is about. Its about being with friends, family, or just other beer lovers to to simply that - enjoy beer. (1,144 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Lived in GR for 4 years, and have to say, without a doubt, this is my favorite brewery of all time. Homer bias? Fine. Nostalgia? Yes. But boy do they make some great beer. Plus the food is outstanding, and the music/environment is one of a kind. New beer garden takes it to another level. A must visit for any beer lover. (321 characters)

Photo of PrendUnVerreDeBiere
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Great brewery. Brewing fantastic beers that entice the palate. You will hardly find a beer in this fine establishment that will not please and liven up your taste buds. The brewery provides an open atmosphere with plenty of seating in and outside. Architecture is rustic modern and industrial with plenty of stonework, wooden beams and weld work. The atmosphere is both busy and intimate, allowing one to participate in the bustle of the brewery, but also sit back and fade into the framework. Great ambiance and incredible large portioned appetizers and sandwiches that pair well with the incredible selection of flavorful beers. Well done Founders, until we meet again! (672 characters)

Photo of arthuro11
4.9/5  rDev +11.9%

I went here being a fan of Founders for sure (Breakfast Stout is among my all time favs, and been lucky enough to score some KBS via a good friend) and had no expectations of the tap room except the aforementioned friend said if we're going to make a beer trip, it should be Founders or Bell's (both about 45 minutes from where we were).

All that said, I felt instantly comfortable when I walked in. Spacious welcoming room, with another taproom to the right, and great seating outside. Unfortunately we only had time for a couple, but one of them was Devil Dancer, on tap, absolutely no complaints there.

Only got an appetizer but it was great. There were servers who were happy to help us at the bar and also when we were seated, which I was surprised a bit about considering how busy the place was. When we initally came in, we walked right in, when we left the place was packed fairly early on a Saturday night.

Got some great schwag at the gift shop, and some great beers to take home (or more accurately partially finish later that night around the campfire).

Complaints? Not really, looking forward to the next visit even though it may be several years off. If you are in the same area code, or even peninsula, worth a visit for any beer fan. (1,261 characters)

Photo of goodbr3wz
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The atmosphere at Founders is amazing. There are people from all walks of life that frequent Founders to enjoy some amazing brews.

The quality of of Founders beer is top notch. The beer is never disappointing.

Service is very good as well, everyone at Founders is there because they love beer, even though this place is always busy the service is still pretty reasonable.

Ive only had one item off there menu but it was amazing, a little expensive but definitively worth it if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Prices are very reasonable for the quality of food/beer that they serve! (614 characters)

Photo of bulldogp04
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great place to visit. Although busy, service remains at a good or, at least, acceptable level. Good value and always quality beer! Food is pretty darn good, especially considering it is a brewery/brewpub. The selection could be a bit better at times, but you can't argue with proven award winners. Ambiance is awesome and their is frequently live entertainment at night. Bathrooms are clean and relatively well-maintained and the place has a great local "feel" and sense of loyalty. Pretty amazing considering the level of stature they have reached over time! (559 characters)

Photo of GRDave
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Been a mug club member since 2007. This place ROCKS! Maybe a little bias there. Seriously, whether you're a regular like me or a one-time visitor from out of town, you WILL be welcomed with open arms.

The servers are always open to people trying new things, and if you're a newbie an perhaps a little intimidated, don't be shy to ask for a taste of something before committing to a full glass. Right now (October) the beer menu is a little light on options. I hear they're pretty popular and its tough to keep up.

The food rating gets a 5! Yes they only serve sandwiches, but their deli staff take as much pride in their work as the brewers with their beer. The sandwiches are killer, and well worth the money.

The atmosphere does change day-to-day or even throughout the day. Lunchtime, you'll see may see some suits enjoying a beer and sandwich. Evening has the crowd getting out of work. Later at night, if there's a live band, the place is rocking.

Pretty much, a place for everyone.

Cheers (999 characters)

Photo of vandeg
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

When I started going to Founders on a weekly basis it was a great place to hang out and have a beer. Every Monday they cut their prices down and all is great. Great beer, great food, great service once you learn its not a restaurant but a brewery with a deli attached to it.

Nowadays its getting crowded in the winter, especially when college is on break. Sometimes its hard to find a table and people start to sit on the stage because of the lack of seating. With acoustics that are horrible you pretty much have to yell to keep a conversation, which is probably why I always try and sit outside.

Prices are pricey but you go in on certain days and it can be cheaper beerwise. Food is always good and service is great though it may take awhile but overall the wait staff is great. (783 characters)

Photo of wombat
2.65/5  rDev -39.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 3

Two friends and i did a Michigan brewery tour 8 breweries in 2 days. Founders was the inspiration for this trip but when we got there they lost our food order and they only had one beer on their menu that i hadn't had. we where so disappointed that we ranked it last. every brewery we went to had several beers we had never had usually experimental beers. but everything on founders menu were beers i could get back in Ohio. I will still drink their quality beer but i see no reason to go to their pub. (502 characters)

Photo of boarder916
3.43/5  rDev -21.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Founders is a great place to stop by for a tasty beer and a good sandwich while in Grand Rapids. The brew pub is always packed, so get there early or late, or expect to stand. The service is average at best, so place your orders at the bar to get faster service. Mondays are $1.50 off pints, so it's a good time to try their beers. If you like spicy, the Devil Dancer Sandwich is great. It can get extremely loud inside during busy hours, which is fine for the average consumer, but not good for a meeting over a beer. Overall it is well worth the visit. (554 characters)

Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

February 2012

Driving up to the big red barnyard like building was nice as it stuck out against the other buildings right in downtown Grandrapids.

Atmosphere - Can you say this tap room is huge! With a really nice wooden bar that seemed to go on forever. Even at 4 p.m. it was busy for the sheer size of their tasting room. Only thing I did not expect and had to get use to is trying to get a table for my fiancee and I. Expect to ask someone if they are leaving, and ask if it would be alright for you to have the table once they are finished; or you may stand around for quit some time. It would be nice if they put a sign up that told you about this, and gave you a few humorous pointers for all newbies. Later on in the evening they had a live band which was a nice touch of entertainment. Oh yeah, can you say this room gets loud!

Quality - The quality is top notch, everything seems to be brand new. Lots of wood from the bar to the tables, chairs, and floors. Although this room is huge it seems like they could personalize it a little more by adding a few decorations here or there. Beer is also top notch with three different tears that are priced accordingly. Top notch on quality now they just need to add the little things to make it feel more welcoming and personalized.

Service - Service is good once you get seated the wait staff checks on you often. At the bar there was not much wait for the sheer amount of people drinking. Only thing to be expected is to go up and order your food and pick it up from a separate location from the bar.

Selection - There beer selection was great. I found that they had some beer we never heard of from them and they were excellent. My Fiancee found her favorite which was only offered in the tap room, which was called Manguy Mango. I got to try an assortment of beers all in one sitting. Almost to many to choose from for a one time visit. My pallet was taxed to the max.

Food - They have a nice sandwich selection that we choose from. The two that we had were excellent and they even told you on the menu what to pair them with. These sandwiches were huge and definitely worth the price. You may want to split one depending on how much you plan on drinking.

Value - There beer prices at the tap room were reasonable especially if you wanted to get a growler. If you get a chance to go you may want to pick a sampler to start. You get 4, 4 ounce pours for a decent price. Very good price for the quality of beer you get here. The sandwich were big and delicious too. A very good experience and a must for any beer connoisseur. (2,590 characters)

Photo of CWOlsen
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Founder's is the reason Grand Rapids is "Beer City USA" They have created a brand that is the highest quality yet maintains the ability to experiment and branch out to many different offerings.

The brewpub is large and friendly, but can be a little too loud depending on the evening. They host live music some nights (very loud then).

Mug club is a good deal with breaks on pints, six packs and growlers.

I personally like Centennial IPA and All Day IPA (being a bit of a hop head) but most of the standard offerings are well above par (from Pale to Stout) Red's Rye is very popular. (588 characters)

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
97 out of 100 based on 285 ratings.