Founders Brewing Company

Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BA SCORE
88.2%
Liked Their Beers
3.96 w/ 137,372 ratings
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

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

(616) 776-1195 | map
foundersbrewing.com

Notes:
Mahou San Miguel has a 30% ownership stake since 2014.


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.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
109
Reviews:
32,924
Ratings:
137,372
Liked:
121,113
Average:
3.96/5
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
95.9%
Reviews:
316
Ratings:
1,076
Liked:
1,032
Avg:
4.55/5
pDev:
10.11%
 
 
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,076 |  Reviews: 316
Reviews by CortexBomb:
Photo of CortexBomb
4.03/5  rDev -11.4%
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 QianBokSubai
4.18/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Good selection of beer, including rock-solid mainstays and esoteric limited releases. Probably the largest capacity brewery in Grand Rapids. Great atmosphere and a good food menu, as well.

 188 characters

Photo of cmurphy7
3.29/5  rDev -27.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 2.75

no holds barred when it comes to finding a seat/table on a weekend. Seriously, I thought mid-westerners were supposed to be nice. I guess that does not apply when it comes to their average tasting micro breweries. I will past on this visit next time around.

 260 characters

Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Another one of those "you've just gotta go" places. A showed up right on their 11am Saturday time. A small crowd had already gathered, waiting to get inside. The brewery is much bigger than I thought and they have plenty of room inside and out. One big main bar, one smaller bar to the side, next to the gift shop. If you are at one bar and want something from the other, the server will go get it. That's a nice extra step. The best part about Founders is all the tap-room only specials. I wish all the bigger breweries with decent distribution did that. You know all about KBS and CBS, but you never know what awesome brew they've got on tap at the brewery. Parking is pretty good and free on Saturdays around the brewery. Cheap bar snacks and plenty of awesome beer.

 769 characters

Photo of sjones5045
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Danmullens1
4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of thebits
4.23/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of firkingroovin
4.56/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Great room, Great service, Great food and Great beer. Crowd is friendly and the selection is wonderful.

103 characters

Photo of GregKobeArntz24
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of HopHEAD1522
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

An epic temple to beer, with a great range of taps, and a nice menu full of delicious food options. All the standard options from Founders are around, but the real pleasure is to explore options not easily available elsewhere. All sorts of beer styles are on exhibit, and many have slightly tweaked elements that are the brewery's hallmark. That some of these brewing techniques have become standard issue of American breweries is a testament to Founders' reach. Definitely worth the visit.

 494 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.01/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Photo of MJPG
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My second favorite brewery.

27 characters

Photo of Brianz81
3.88/5  rDev -14.7%
vibe: 1.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Having to wait/find a seat is a bit much. Sure, they have great beer and good food, but wow..... Good luck trying to get a spot for more than two. You eventually feel so bad about yourself and have worn yourself out looking for a spot, that you order from the counter, and eat on the steps. Not the best place for a family or group. The staff is good, once you're in a spot.

 374 characters

Photo of ljc973
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

There's not one bad thing I could say about this place; huge, open space with an awesome beer garden, great food and (obviously) beer, with some special offerings on tap. Service was great, and the shop had Blis maple syrup in stock, which is killer. Definitely recommend.

 272 characters

Photo of heddar33
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Michiganman2325
4.94/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.76/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of ZEB89
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of cowboytroy32
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Photo of meghan_erikson
4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

I'm not usually a huge fan of Porter style beer, but this one was so delicious!
Dark black pour with great brown head. Nose of coffee and chocolate. Flavor is big on roasted malt and nice bite of spice at the end. Great balance and not too much of any one flavor. Nice texture that leads to another sip.

 303 characters

Photo of parnelli_86
4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of stoffystouts
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 88.2% out of 100 with 137,372 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.