Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
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140,089 Ratings
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company

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

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

(616) 776-1195 | map

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.

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Ratings: 1,114 |  Reviews: 323
Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
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 snafui
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I'm in Grand Rapids for business and the first place I dragged my coworkers was Founders. We rolled in on 10 pm on a Wednesday, I wasn't even really sure if the place would be open. Instead I found the place was packed! We grabbed 3 bar seats and had 3 rounds and some food. The folks were incredibly friendly, from staff to customers. The food was out of this world! I had a Red's Rye sandwich which was no lie one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.
I'm a huge fan of the Founders beers that we can get back home in MA, which is Red's Rye, Curmudgeon, and Dirty Bastard. I was really hoping to sample others but the only thing I found a little disappointing was that there were no special beers on tap. That entire section of the chalk board was empty. But what I had was great so it wasn't a real negative. I started w/ an IPA. Hit a vanilla porter next, and on suggestion from an enthusiastic patron had a blend of Dirty Bastard and Rubaeus (raspberry) which was interesting but not really my style.
All in all I had a fantastic time, would love to go back, especially some time when there are more specials. And I can't speak highly enough about the folks there. Atmosphere is a huge thing with me and really leaves an impression on your experience.

Also on suggestion from the locals we hit the Hop Cat next.

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Photo of sarahspat
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this establishment. A few of my nicknames for Founders are "the happiest place on earth" and "that than which nothing nothing greater can be conceived." I am a little biased; I'm in the mug club and usually go there twice a week. I can't get enough of Founders.

Their beers are amazing. I compare all other beers that I have to Founders and they never seem to stack up. I'm actually starting to become concerned that Founders has spoiled me and that my standards are ridiculously high now. I'm not exaggerating either. Founders Centennial IPA is my Favorite Beer Ever and it's difficult for me to imagine a scenario in which I would bestow this honor on any other beer.

The entire staff is amazing. Just really cool, really nice people all around. Plus, they are AMAZING at their jobs and extremely knowledgeable about beer.

The atmosphere is perfect. Anyone who complains that they lost character with the move is indulging in maudlin daydreams. The atmosphere is exactly the's just bigger now. That's literally the only difference. Also, one of the best things about Founders is that it's the kind of bar where anyone can feel welcome. The Founders mug club is made up of all types of people. Our love of delicious beers (and especially Founders Brewing Company) is what unites us all. Just the way it should be.

Wednesday nights at Founders are probably the best deal in the entire craft beer world. $1.75 pints for mug club honestly boggles my mind sometimes. And Monday nights are great for everyone: $2 pints!

Many of the reviews complain about the lack of selection. Of course, when they moved they had to interrupt the brewing so there was a period where they had very few beers on tap. But those days are over. They generally have at least 6 or 7 and sometimes as many as 10-12 beers on tap now.

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Photo of bgramer
4/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I came out to Grand Rapids for the KBS release party and was pretty impressed with the pub. Lots of natural light and windows, which is what I like. It was also very crowded and noisy, which is to be expected of a KBS party, but it was also the satruday before St Patrick's Day so I considered that.

The bartenders were very generous with samples. After sampling, I enjoyed the Frangelic, the Porter, and of course, the KBS on tap. I had to stop and cool off because of the drive back to Chicago.

I didn't get to try their food because I was full from eating at Hopcat (another must-visit), but everything on the board looked good and I'd definitely try it on my next beer trip out to Michigan.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.45/5  rDev -2%
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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Photo of PabstBlue
3.95/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

As a big fan of their beers and their former location, I am a bit sad to say that I am not impressed by their new location. They still have the peanut shells on the ground, personal steins on the wall and great beer but the the new location is huge, loud and lacking the character that drew me to their old location. The noise is probably my largest problem with the place. The noise echoing off the walls makes is near impossible to have a conversation with your friend who is bellied up to the bar with you. The service is really great and it is not difficult to get one of their many delicious beer. While the beer and service is great, I think I'll go elsewhere until they find a way to dampen the noise.

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Photo of frazbri
4.72/5  rDev +4%
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 Seahorse
4.05/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Big improvement over the old joint. Beer's as usual are decent microbrews. Food is your average pub fare, sandwiches etc. Overall, not the best microbrewery I have been to, nor the worst. Definitely better than the GR Brewing Company in terms of service and hospitality. Great location, near the Van Andel Arena and other establishments. A decent watering hole. Beers are good and reasonably priced. Wait staff is friendly, however, usually not able to answer the "novices" questions. A good place to hang out, drink and have nice conversation. Didn't care too much for the seating arrangements, as I felt like we were sitting on top of each other.

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Photo of Pedro07
4.1/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I got my chance to visit the new location on Saturday night. Great atmosphere, service and quality! Loved it! The only problem I found was that the tap list was only 4 (Pale, IPA, Oatmeal Stout and Dirty Bastard, along with a couple other randoms). Kind of dissapointing to me, but I can probably attribute that to the interuption of the brewing process with the move.
Overall, I loved it!
And in reply to the last post, the pizza places were bringing the pizza in like crazy! So yes, they do deliver!

Well about a year later, it's popularity seems to have grown! The tap list is full again, and we are now seeing the fruits of expansion.

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Photo of rteis
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Here's an update for their new location. Non-smokers are going to love the fact that the new joint is smoke free. A definite improvement in my book. Have food on site is good, but I will admit, I will miss the good 'ole days where the pizza guy from Sal's would deliver so we could have some eats while we took in the great beer. Selection is limited as they are trying to get caught back up with production. New building is great and must have 40+ seats right up @ the bar. A great improvement to the old place.

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Photo of Hollenbeck2
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

this place was cool, I had not heard of founders ever, but when i found i was going to beautiful grand rapids for a convention i searched breweries and found this little doozy.

i wlked there from downtown, about 6 blocks, found this small place hidden in the base of a large building, the only drawback with michigan is you can still smoke in the bars, it takes away from my pleasure in tasting beer and not smoke in my face.

good spot they had a great selection of brews from lighter pilsners to very strong barley wine beers, the ipa was great and the people were nice, bought a pretty cool anniversary glass also.

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Photo of drseamus
3.91/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I was at the old place back in August and this is from notes:

I love Founders' beers. Their bar however, was a bit crazy. We inadvertently went on a night with a band and the room was ear-shatteringly loud and filled with more smoke than a chain smoker's car. The beers however, are awesome. I got a lot of great beers on tap and actually discovered a deeper appreciation for the Kentucky Breakfast Stout after having it on tap. All the bar staff were helpful and fast which was impressive because it was wicked busy. I'm definitely going to have to check out the new place.

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Photo of jjshutty
3.95/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

The old place was crowded, smoky, and loud when a band was playing. I have yet to be to the new place, and hopefully it is better than the old. I have heard great things about the new facility, so here goes.

The sandwiches are great for being what they are, sandwiches. However, I wish they served them later in the day and not just during lunch.

As for the beer I have no problems what so ever with any of them. Devil Dancer is by far my favorite, followed very closely with the Black Rye and Kentucky Breakfast.

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

This is my fourth trip to Founders and as I went to up-date the new local, I've yet to review the place.

This is for the new location, which is great. Located downtown, just minutes from the old place. We stopped in around noon time on a saturday. There is one row of parking at the front, more around the side and back. Other warehouse lots are close if you go at a peak time.

At the time we went, only 20% of the tables were used, so plenty of room and space. They have a deli and with the decor, it fits in perfect. The menu looked great, by deli standards, with an ave price around 7.50 per. We brought our own pizza in, which can be done, very cool.

Next to the deli, a gift display of shirts and glasses. Had to hit that!

The bar is long and looks great. Signs of whats on-tap are easy to read with the abv. listed. There is a small to go cooler with packs and singles. Gotta hit that.

The brewing room, behind glass at the far end, where the magic happens, looks great!!

Everytime I get to Founders I find something new. This trip only about five taps used, The mainstay beers. This trip I had Reds Rye. The pint was 3.75. I was able to pick up Old Curmudgeon, rotated release. And Backwoods Bastard, brewed once.

Even at the brewery, it can be a crap shoot as to what beers are available. Abit pricey, depends on your outlook. The Backwoods 4, was around 13 bucks, worth it? Oh ya, Founders is my favorite Michigan brewery.

The new location is great, stop in, a must!!

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Photo of cerevisiae
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.63/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of the three stops on the trip that I was looking forward to the most. In large part because I had been informed that the Kentucky Breakfast Stout would be available on tap and in inherently large quantities. We arrived there in the afternoon, had a couple, including the Blushing Monk which is a must try, filled some growlers, and then headed back to drop off the van and check in to the hotel. After waiting an absurdly long time for a filthy taxi we were certainly hurtin' for some good food and brew. Founders promptly delivered both. The food was fantastic and the beer was even better. As we sat down in a packed room to order, the bartender we'd met that afternoon asked if we wouldn't mind switching tables with a larger group who was looking to push a couple tables together. We of course obliged and moved to another available table. The bartender, who was off the clock I'd expect, returned a few minutes later with a cardboard box full of cold bottles to thank us for moving tables. The easiest dozen bottles of beer I ever earned, and a really nice gesture. Fast forward a couple hours and I ended up singing a drunken rendition of Tom Petty's Free Fallin' on stage with the band. Needless to say, we had a blast. Some amazing beers on tap, great food, and great people made for possibly my favorite stop on the trip. If you’re ever anywhere close to Grand Rapids, take a few hours and enjoy this amazing beer destination.

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Photo of joe1510
4.16/5  rDev -8.4%
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 DIM
4.33/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

The atmosphere in here on a busy saturday night was great. Casual and very friendly. Since no food is offered I saw pizza boxes on a couple of tables. Very kind of them to allow that, I even saw someone sharing a bottle from Allagash. Dinged the score a bit for all the smoke. The beer was, of course, phenomonal as was the friendly staff. Only five beers on tap this day, so that was a bit of a letdown. One of the five was Breakfast Stout so that helped. I'd love to have this in my neighborhood. If you get the chance stop by.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.21/5  rDev -7.3%
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 bigman147
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

My brother in law and I stopped in for a tour of the facility on a recent beer pilgrimage around MI. Mike and Dave let us in a little before normal hours to check out the brewery and get a behind the scene view. I was exhausted so my questions were pretty stupid. The facility is cramped but puts out some wonderful beers. The bar area is small and I can see the location getting very crowded. Plenty of parking can be found nearby. If I lived in Grand Rapids, I would be a regular. Anyway, we were able to sample every beer that they had. My personal favorite was the Red Rye. Since it wasnt normal hours, we didn't have any food and the staff that was around was busy prepping for the influx that would surely be coming. The Magnum PI episode on the TV while talking beer with these guys was a classic moment. Everything about Founders was great. I would recommend a visit to anyone in the area.

Definitely try the Red Rye.

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Photo of rsyberg01
4.36/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped here after Dark Lord, saw phatz and beerbeing there ( I was one of the two young guys with cardinals hats on) Absolutely love this place. I would be infinitely happy if this was my local bar.

So to tell my story of patronizing. Me and my friend Ryan (ba name rysky) pull up and get a spot almost directly in front of this place. We came nonstop from munster and walk in just exausted. That didnt last long, the atmosphere in this place is so personalble. Its like any local bar, regulars, local live music, decent selection on tap, and decent nourishment (at least for what they had available which was pretzels with horseradish cheese) First thing I had was an Imperial Stout on tap. Almost brought a tear to my eye. See being from St. Louis really deprives you of things like this, and believe me, when you say Schlafly I say not even close. The bartender the first night we were there wasnt so chatty, but I didnt think twice of it. The next night we were in, a cute petite light brown haired bartender was working (never did get her name which I regret) She was amazing, just very social. Always made sure we were ok and even gave us an impromptu tour of the brewery because they were slow enough she said. Talk about above and beyond. It was just a great experience and I highly recommend this place to anyone within the united states. Definitely going to be a stop to make after dark lord day for many years to come!

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Photo of Phatz
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
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 leftmindedrighty
3.95/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Stopped here for lunch on a brewery road trip ending with Dark Lord Day

First off, I got a parking spot right in front of the place, so I was happy about that. Across the street was "Pay to Park" type places so I was a bit weary at first.

The place is not overly fancy, which I love. It looks like a quality place to sit, hang out, and enjoy some great beer. I sat at the bar and ordered an Oatmeal Stout, which was great.

I had the Dirty Bastard Sandwich, and it was freakin awesome. One of the best sandwiches I've had in a while. While I'm not sure if all of their sandwiches are the same, mine was huge, I couldn't even finish it.

The service was Ok, since I was in no rush, I really didn't care about the quality of service. If I needed anything, I received it in a respectable amount of time. I ended up having the Backwards Bastard before I left, but nothing else. Which leads me to my only gripe about the place. There were only three session beers on tap, all the rest were high gravity brews. While thats awesome if I wasn't driving, I was very limited to what I could drink.

I also picked up a four pack of the Kentucky Breakfast Stout and a four pack of the Devil Dancer which really made my day.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.6/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

During a terrible snow and cold freeze of early February 2007, I did a white-knuckler western Michigan loop consisting of the top-rated brewpubs in Western Michigan. The trip began in the southwest corner at the Livery in Benton Harbor, up to New Holland in Holland, over to The Hideout, Founders, and BOB in Grand Rapids. Individual reviews are below and my rankings from a total experience are New Holland, The Hideout, The Livery, Founders, and BOB.

My perspective is based on visits to almost 200 brewpubs across North America. I’m an avid homebrewer and craft-beer drinker but no means an expert on the contest judging of beers. I know good beer when I taste it.

Founders is a place I've been itchin to get to ever since I wasn't able to make it here during a visit to Kalamazoo. I'm a big fan of their Centennial IPA and have had the pleasure of speaking with the owner/head brewer at a Founder's tasting in Cincinnati.

I had very high expectations leading up to the visit. Everything went well until I opened the door and steped into their pub. On the outside, it's in an attractive, historic area of Grand Rapids that appears to be growing. When I stepped inside, I was dissapointed to see it was decorated to the minimum. This is very subjective and I do like the run-down beaten feel (loved it at The Hideout), but I was expecting something a little more from their space. Especially when the outside gave so much promise for something equally impressive inside. There were nice viewing areas for the brewing equipment. Other than that, it was pretty dumpy. As an advocate of clean air, I was dissapointed that 90% of the people were smoking. Everything from cigars to hand-rolled tobacco. It's hard to enjoy the aroma and flavor of good beer when you can barely breathe. Other brewpubs in Michigan have special areas for smoking which would have been nice here.

They had all their bottled beers on tap. I had the Black Rye, Red Rye, and two stouts. One stout had hazlenut which was pretty good, the other was middle of the road. I had a 13% tripple IPA which was good if not a bit sweet.

The only food they have are peanuts or pretzil rods with hard cheese to dip them in.

I'd love to have another shot at Founders and I'm sure I'd think better of it. Prior to the trip, I put them in a category of micro regionals with New Holland and Arcadia. My perception has certainly changed since the visit.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.34/5  rDev -26.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

We stopped in at Founders on a recent trip to Grand Rapids. The place had kind of a brewery-back room feel to it. “Divey”, but a clean kind of dive if that makes any sense. The selections on the chalkboard were incredibly had to read with the lighting present. It was a Saturday night and there were only two people working the place, so if you wanted a beer you had to go to the bar to get it. However, the staff seemed knowledgeable enough about the beer and were more than happy to pour you a pint (they were incredibly busy). The place was modestly filled until one of the local bands began to set up; apparently there was a show tonight. On our way out, we noticed a cover charge being taken. I always find this in very poor taste at a brewpub. Don't go here if you want to eat. Apparently the kitchen is only open for certain hours and I hear it's just snacky-sandwich stuff. Having said all that, I think the beer was very tasty, if not a bit pricey. Every beer I had (and tasting my wife's choices also) was of above average quality.

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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 140,089 ratings