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Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
Based on:
117 Beers
112,344 Hads
Place Score: 98
Reviews: 287
Visits: 950
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: 950
Photo of MudDrinker
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of Ferd577
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -17.2%
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!

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Photo of Joethebeerpro
4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of CMoPink
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of andrewjraab
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Sparty1224
5/5  rDev +13.4%

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.

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Photo of PrendUnVerreDeBiere
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

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!

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Photo of arthuro11
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%

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.

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Photo of WetAndForget
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Amazing sandwiches and awesome winding bar rail. Went for KBS release 2015 and it couldn't of been smoother. After grabbing KBS we sat in their outdoor area and had CBS delivered to us, it couldn't of been better.

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Photo of goodbr3wz
4.72/5  rDev +7%
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!

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Photo of bulldogp04
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
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!

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Photo of GRDave
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
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.


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Photo of vandeg
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of wombat
2.65/5  rDev -39.9%
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.

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Photo of boarder916
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

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Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of CWOlsen
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Jschuster
3.81/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Only been there for lunch or dinner. They do have live music, but haven't seen a show there. Not a problem, as the only reason to go to Founders is for the beer. Oh, and the sandwiches - they do serve a good, solid sandwich. Personal favorite: 'Devil Dancer'. The grilled cheese is good, too. Their hummus/olive tapenade appetizer is good for sharing with a small party of friends.

Rotating taps - check their (pretty well-designed) website for specifics. They have a good selection of core brews. And some fringe experiments that are... 'interesting'. The waitstaff and bartenders are happy to explain some of the odder choices on tap. Small samples are available, gratis.

Only complaints would be: 1) Acoustics. Hardwood floors and an industrial-style vaulted ceiling means echoes abound. Problem gets worse as the evening goes on and folks get... erm... happier. 2) It can be hard to get the attention of the waitstaff at times. They just sort of ... disappear for long , thirsty periods. Not a big problem; just leaves a body wander up to the bar for a refill, lest one shrivel up from dehydration.

Overall, they do a very good job with food and drink. One of my favorite places.

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Photo of fjiii22
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Founders Brewery is a great experience. From the time you enter the building until your last beer, everything is first class.

I sat at the bar and was greeted immediately. There was such a broad selection, I didn't know where to begin. The bartender asked me the styles I liked and guided me in the right direction. Every time she suggested one, it was right on in the range of beers I lean too.

Atmosphere was nice. Music in the background gives it a chilled out feel. I went at night and was a little dark do my taste, but not enough for me to leave and not try the quality being produced

Basically, this place should be on your bucket list, and it's worth the long haul. I drove from Cincinnati in a snow storm for the experience, and benefits definitely outweighed the risks

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Photo of DalyDawg
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Love Founders! The only complaint is parking. So i can't wait until their expansion is completed! The food is great and not your tradition "bar" food. Overall I always look and ask for Founders beer, Dirty Bastard is my favorite! Their KBS is to die for but good luck getting any, people line up outside the brewery the day before its released!

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Photo of AaronGreenman
3.73/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Went downtown with Brandon and Chelsea the night before my interview. Drank some pale ale, listened to some good music, and had a good night. There were a lot of road bikers there which made me want to ride my bike into Founders one day. Great place to sit down with friends and drink some good beer. I didn't try the food but I will have to next time I visit.

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Photo of Knuckles_Nuclear
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Drove up from South Haven while on vacation. Looks like business has been good...lots of construction going on. Despite the construction chaos, the service and quality was outstanding. Great beer selection, awesome sandwiches, and plenty of staff around to provide quality service. Well worth the trip, and I will be back.

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Photo of emma_problema
3.65/5  rDev -17.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Interesting layout with a very open feel. Fantastic beer, but the bartenders seemed very uninterested. Yummy sandwiches and a really wide selection for food. I really enjoyed my visit! There was a really great variety of IPAs and I enjoyed all the beers we tried!

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Photo of MSU_hophead
4.63/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

This place was solid even before the renovations but with all the changes is truly a world class beer hall. The new outdoor "beer garden" area is gigantic with multiple huge gas bonfires and plenty of outdoor gas heaters situated above the outdoor tables. I've been out here in November and it's still been pleasant although they do close down the outside bar around October. Some (but not all) of the outdoor area is covered so it could still be enjoyed in moderately inclement weather. There is also a convenient outdoor smoking area to the side of the patio.

Moving to the inside...as a pool player you can't beat the free! pool in the back. The two bars inside keep the lines reasonable even when it's busy. I really like the new two bar setup; if you're there for a show or enjoy being in the center of the activity the main area is a great spot to be. The second, new smaller bar located around the corner is great for a more intimate sit down or for catching the game on one of their big flat screens. They even let you fill up a growler and keep it in a fridge in their tap room.

The food is extremely good too. I've had the backwoods bastard sandwich which has pulled pork with Dirty Bastard infused BBQ sauce. I've also had most of their apps and they have all been solid. The bartenders are always knowledgable and have never hesitated to give me decent size samples of even their class 3 offerings.

Founders gets top marks for their amazing outdoor area, large and modern indoor space as well as their great food, beer and knowledgeable staff.

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