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Founders Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BEER AVG
3.96/5
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

235 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503
United States

(616) 776-1195 | map
www.foundersbrewing.com

Notes:
Monday - Saturday: 11am - 2am
Sunday: 12pm - 12am
Non-smoking Indoors, huge front porch for smoking. (heated winter room coming!)
Much larger room, with huge 25-seat custom mahogany bar.
Expanded Deli Menu and Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 11am-11pm
Sunday: 12pm-11pm
Store: 12pm-8pm
Live Music Thursdays and Saturdays featuring Stage, House PA and Sound
Pool Table, Real Dart Board, and Shuffleboard.

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BEER STATS
Beers:
108
Reviews:
30,248
Ratings:
127,269
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
97
Reviews:
305
Ratings:
1,025
Avg:
4.4
pDev:
4.77%
 
 
Taps:
18
Bottles/Cans:
7
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 305 | Ratings: 1,025
Reviews by CortexBomb:
Photo of CortexBomb
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

(New Founders)

Most of the old review still applied to new Founders, so I haven't removed it, just scroll down. The new building is located downtown a few blocks from the old one, and is a long, flat facility. The biggest difference now is scale: there are numerous bartenders, many more tables, the bar is gargantuan, &c. They also serve food on a more dedicated scale (i.e.: the pay window ala Bell's) and have outside seating, which will be nice during the warmer months.

There are things brought over from the old building, which I appreciated. The chalk boards showing the brews, the peanuts / pretzels sign, and the stained glass of the pints are all incorporated into the new bar. You can still throw peanut shucks on the ground.

Basically, it's new Founders. I still will stop by when I'm in the Grand Rapids area, but I feel that something was lost in the transition to the new facility. They still brew great beer, the staff is still friendly, but everything is on a larger, more impersonal scale. Old Founders felt like that neighbourhood place where you could stop in and see your friends, and the sheer scale of the new facility makes me feel like that is going to be hard to recapture.

I wish them well though, and I hope they can elbow into the MI market the same way Bell's has, they certainly deserve it.

(Old Founders...in the Brassworks)

Founders operates an ale house downtown GR where one can pick up whatever is currently available in bottles, or get a fresh pint or growler right out of the tap.

The ale house is located in the bottom of the large industrial warehouse style building that also houses the brewery, some of which is visible through large glass windows in the tap room.

Inside the tap room things are dimly lit. Several tables are scattered around and there is a small bar, a fridge with some bottles, and a pool table. It's bare bones, but it fits my idea of an ale house: no frills, just beer, conversation and billiards. The "throw your peanut shucks on the ground" convention is also excellent, and really adds to the throwback feel of the taproom. (Legacy note: Old Founders is my 5.0 atmosphere rating, I judge all other bars by the vibe this place had: small, intimate, great beer, not polished but not dirty either.)

There are always a handful of brews on tap, amongst them their seasonals as well as other stand-bys such as Breakfast Stout and so forth and special, tap room only offerings.

For sitting down and having a beer, the service is great. The servers were quick to help us, and more than happy to dole out samples and water as we needed them along the way. I previously bought a couple of growlers from them, and was mildly dissatisfied with their lack of bags to put them in, but I saw some growlers going out sealed up from daylight in boxes recently, so perhaps that is no longer an issue. Overall service was quite good though.

In terms of value, the place is decent, but a little higher than you might expect. Regular offerings, up to and including Dirty Bastard, are 3.50$ for an American pint. The more esoteric special offerings such as the old ales or the special Belgian Razz they have right now are more (more like 4-5$ per snifter). For a bar the prices are quite good, particularly on the heavier, more flavourful offerings, but they seem a little higher than the average micro tap room.

Basically, this is a great place to stop by if you want to go to an old style bar and have some high quality beer in the process. Absolutely not the kind of place where many mainstream sports bar types will feel at home though, and not nearly as over the top as Bell's Eccentric down in Kazoo....but also much more laid back and genuine feeling.

 3,715 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of bwbetts
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Scotty_Karate
3.89/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75

Photo of Willtravelforbeer
4.76/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Big_Neezy
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Founders is committed to excellence and it shows. Everything they do is bold and confident and in Michigan beer scene, this is the place to be.

Cancel your evening your evening plans and get a ride because this place is worth a long sit. Their draft offerings are spectacular and catch them during certain seasons and you might be lucky enough to score the fabled KBS or CBS. While Founders in a bottle is great, the first hand tap room experience is even better because you're getting it from the source.

Menu is mostly sandwiches and they do not have a grill or fryer. They don't need to. While they're not in the deli business, those sandwiches are outrageous in flavor, quality and size. That's just the Founder's boldness coming through. Absolutely get a sandwich on the marble rye and with one of Founder's own beer mustard. Most sandwiches hover in the $7-10 range and it's great value for dollar. The double-decker is about $14 but it fed me twice for that price. The French bread pizzas are all the rage now but I'm a sandwich guy.

Service is kind of hit and miss. The place starts packing them in early in the day so you can always expect a crowd. Post work hours to get crowded so expect longer waits. I had very good service sitting at the bar but mediocre service from a bearded hipster who gave us the cold shoulder the whole time. Yes, we're tourists and no I don't have a man bun or mountain bike but my money still spends the same. However, most employees we have encountered are very nice and helpful.

Beer. The whole reason why you came speaks for itself. They will always have the standards (class 1) but venture out and try the seasonal stuff too. The Breakfast Stout is that much better from the tap as is the Rubaeus. I tend to stay in the Class 2 beers. Typically, if you order from the Class 3 list, you are limited in the order to either 1-2 glasses. This may account for limited quantity or even alcohol content. You come to enjoy, not get smashed.

Nice relaxing setting which has live music several days a week. The open mic music nights are great and showcases local talent. Note though, it can get very loud.

 2,169 characters

Photo of seanchai
4.29/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of LaGuarns
4.14/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of jessewilliamson
4.85/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Antg8989
3.46/5  rDev -21.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Not overly impressed with my visit. The best part was the food which was good. The beer selection was okay. The vibe was decent for a larger craft brewery/restaurant. The service killed our visit. (In a bad way).

 212 characters

Photo of Bethaz83
4.86/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of FlaviusG
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Photo of JuanAlberto
3.6/5  rDev -18.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.39/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of AlexFreudenberg
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of admiral64
5/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

One of the top breweries around. Great beer, great food, great service. Waiter actually sat at our table and talked beer with us! It was lunchtime. Definitely my favorite brewery. Go visit!

 189 characters

Photo of cadaugherty
4.21/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of barnzy78
4.11/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

A friend of mine and I finally made it over to Michigan to visit Founders Brewing Co. Leading up to the visit, customer service was great and we managed to score some tickets for a scheduled tour and tasting ($30), which turned out to be awesome. The tour and tasting was limited to 14 people, which seemed to be the perfect amount of people in order to hear everything our great tour guide, Luke, had to show and tell us along with allowing for conversation to be opened up during the tasting. The smaller group also gave it a VIP-ish vibe which was a bonus.

As for the place itself, we got there shortly after they opened and were greeted quickly by a server. There was plenty of room at both the bar and the multiple seating areas - but filled up very quickly by mid-afternoon. The beer list was exceptional featuring both year-round and limited release beers. The chips and guacamole we ordered was average.

Service was great, but got a little confusing when different servers rotated past our table asking if we needed anything - there must have been 5 or 6 different servers. Which was fine until the time we needed to get over to our tour. Nobody seemed to want to let us pay our tab. We asked 3 different servers and time kept ticking. We ended up being late for our tour because we kept waiting for our tab and we were also given the wrong meeting place for the tour by one of the servers. We were just hoping for a bit better communication by the servers and a quicker check-out.

All in all, we still had a great time, and those complaints could very well be isolated incidents. Before we left we checked out the store & bought some beer and a few knick-knacks. I really wanted to get the flat-billed brewery hat but I thought $28 was too expensive so I passed on it. I would definitely go back again.

 1,815 characters

Photo of BretMC987
4.51/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Feldpausch
4.68/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Apok23
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of TFB5
4.4/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of jpbolton
4.39/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of Poloplaya
4.11/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Angerhaus
4.76/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Bleer
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

I went in the middle of the week during a work day. I couldn't believe that I was at Founders Brewery and only ha to share the place with maybe 15 people! Food was above what you would expect for a brewery. The bar, most importantly, was run by cool people who wanted to help. Lots of great beers on tap. Very laid back atmosphere.

 336 characters

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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
97 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.
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