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Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BA SCORE
3.95/5
Very Good
131,870 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:
105
Reviews:
31,379
Ratings:
131,870
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.54/5
Reviews:
317
Ratings:
1,088
pDev:
10.13%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,088 |  Reviews: 317
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.04/5  rDev -33%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Big place, kinda the main spot in town ya get the feel. Looks like it has a capacity person wise around 400. Big open area inside and out for lots of tables, lots of bricks, long bar inside, good gift shop with tons of disc golf stuff. Prices could be a little better on what would be you advertising for them.

They don't really leave a lot of variety though. I had some single hop experimental stuff that frankly should remain that way, and I think backwoods bastard was the only barrel aged beer they had available. Service sucks if you're not local. Then again the Tigers were getting destroyed so maybe that is why they couldn't be bothered. Food was ok, I had a sandwich that wasn't all that. They make really good beer, but this isn't really much of a destination type of place.

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Photo of S-Man
3.16/5  rDev -30.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 1.5

Low rating for selection because I am not a diehard hop or stout fan. They dominate the menu.

93 characters

Photo of alleykatking
3.26/5  rDev -28.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

Went to Founder's today with some buddies of mine. Got there I would say around 4:45 p.m. and there were around 30 people altogether. We sat down at a table and were asked for our beer order. We asked for a menu to eat along with our order and:
1) Never got our menu after we said something about it again.
2) Didn't get the right beer and had to ask again for the right beer.

After we finally all got the right beers we didn't see our server again. We watched her go around to the other tables around us but not ours. Even with empty glasses we finally said forget about sitting down at the table and moved to the bar. Had to ask a couple of times for a menu up at the bar but at least we got the correct beers. After we asked once to place an order and were pretty much ignored they then told us we had to go elsewhere to order. we finshed up our beers and just left the place. Maybe this was just an off day for the employees but I won't really go out of my way to come back. The atmosphere seemed to be a good one but the service killed everything good about the experiance.

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Photo of cmurphy7
3.29/5  rDev -27.5%
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.

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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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Photo of beeragate
3.35/5  rDev -26.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

Love this brewery ..... Obviously beer is their passion

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Photo of beerdedrinken
3.35/5  rDev -26.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 2.25

Service wasn't great but awesome atmosphere and good beer

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Photo of kaos14
3.39/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Biggest bar I have ever seen. The are a lot of very well spaced tables in the middle of huge the room. More tables outside on the porch. A stage sits in the far corner for the frequent live music. Behind the stage is a huge floor to ceiling glass window looking into the brewery. The bar is also very big, maybe 25 stools. The tap selection was just Founder's brews, there were about 8 on tap when I visited but there was room for more. The selection was pretty standard in my mind mostly the old stand-bys of a brewery, pale ales and wheat beers. I was happy to be able to try the Imperial Stout which was good and I also sampled the Rubeaus which was not. I was intrigued by the half rubeaus half stout beers I saw poured, but after tasting the rubeaus I was no longer. They had a small selection of bottles for sale in a cooler, but there was nothing too different from what you'd see in a decent beer store. I did like the large selection of Founder's gear and glassware for sale. I was happy to pick up a Breakfast Stout glass and a Kentucky Breakfast Stout glass for 4 dollars each. I did not eat any food there, but I did note that they basically have a sandwich counter that also has a few appetizers. I don't recall the prices.

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Photo of boarder916
3.43/5  rDev -24.4%
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 Antg8989
3.46/5  rDev -23.8%
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).

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Photo of RolandBlunts
3.48/5  rDev -23.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2

Photo of Florida9
3.48/5  rDev -23.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

What can I say?

I was excited to come to Founders. It was stop three on my mini-brewery excursion and I was looking forward to grabbing some beers from one of the greats.

Founder's sort of sticks out in a gentrifying neighborhood on the South side of Grand Rapids. There is a newish condo complex across the street with "hop" in it's name. I wonder if its a coincidence or not...

As for the brewpub, it's essentially a large warehouse-type set up. It's just one extremely large room with a bar along one wall. There were tables set up during my visit, but none of them are permanent. From what I can tell, Founder's gets bands on a regular basis and the space can be a venue as well as a brewpub. Multi-purpose I suppose. However, from a brewpub perspective, it's a shitty set up. There is no hostess so you don't where to go or where to sit or what.

Never-the-less, found a table after some searching. But no waiter. and no menu. and no beer menu. all except what is written on the chalkboards. Is this how it's supposed to work? I'm supposed to get up and walk half-way across the restaurant to stare at the fucking wall every time I want to make a decision about what to drink or eat. What a pain in the ass. (as it turns out - there are menus, my server was just a dipshit).

So, speaking of my server. This guy probably shouldn't be a server. Didn't bring us any menus, didn't offer any suggestions. When I asked about one of the only beers available that I've never heard of, the Mister E Froot, he was incapable of describing it. I asked him to try. He noted it was unique. Okay... what about the yeast, I asked, attempting to get some sort of description or idea of what this beer resembled. "Founder's uses the same yeast in every of their beers." I found that interesting, but whatever. So is it like a lambic? No was the reply. How about Brett, does it have brett in it? What is brett? he asked. You know, like a sour, is it a sour? No. Okay, I give up, twenty questions is over, just bring me the fucking beer.

I am hopeful my server was an anomaly. However, while staring at the beer list over the bar, it wasn't anyone even attempted to even assist me. Never, not once. I guess Founder's just isn't a very helpful place.

As for the food, it's sandwiches and pizza made out of bread that you could otherwise use to make a sandwich. The sandwiches aren't bad. Some show creativity. And they're well made. But in the end they are just sandwiches and they're nothing all that special.

Selection was decent, but there were only two brewery-only beers available on my visit. Considering I was coming all the way from Chicago, I was hoping for a little more pizzazz, a little something to make the trip worthwhile. Two brewery-only beers and a dozen beers I didn't need to leave Illinois to drink was a little bit of a let down.

Overall, the place was just okay. I imagine the vibe would be a lot different at night, but I really didn't get the feeling this was a place to kick back and sip a beer. It just felt like they were catering to the "let's go out and get drunk" crowd and I'm way passed that stage.

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Photo of Robdiesel21
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of HereforBeer
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of mattboyer182
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of illpass78
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Commando
3.59/5  rDev -20.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Pretty typical brewery sitting areas but the place was under construction so I'm sure it is only going to get better. Food was actually outstanding which was something I wouldn't expect from any brewery. Service on the other hand was awful. I'm not a picky guy and don't (which more than made up for it). As usual, had some great new beers on tap and if it wasn't for one crappy waitress it would have been a great experience.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.59/5  rDev -20.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

I get the feeling this place has been doing one thing, and making money doing it, so feels hey, why change what's not broken? But the whole set up of "the customer owns the entire floor" is just unnecessarily chaotic.

The place is a madhouse almost all the time, a lot of people are just sitting around holding seats waiting for friends because they know how awkward it can be to hover over other people to dive for their seats. The only thing that makes sense is the bar, but really, if they're going to offer food, they really need to learn from other brewpubs and seat people, take orders, and get a menu. They are so huge, profitable and influential now, having to act like you're in a cafeteria is just lame.

The food is just okay too, not even worth the Disney World-esque struggle to get some. However, the point of being here is the beer selection, both annual offerings and oddball batches that you can't find anywhere else, and that doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.59/5  rDev -20.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in here during my whirlwind tour of GR. The place was packed to the gills while I was there. I will give as fair a shake as possible.

Rather large dark open space with plenty of seating and standing room. Nice large stage to the left of the bar. No bands were playing on this occasion. Pretty much typical of any brew pub.

The tap list was decent but nothing special. They only had one beer on tap I had never had or seen outside the brewery. Of course I ordered that. Took a hefty 5 minutes to waive down a server to order.

Basically I'm getting to the point now where every brew pub feels the same. Nothing really stands out anymore. I would love to come back here when it's warm outside and enjoy the patio. Maybe on a week night so it's not as crowded too.

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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 JuanAlberto
3.6/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Photo of bbeane
3.63/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Has a nice look about it, and there was a fairly good amount of people there that looked to be enjoying themselves. The service was ok, once we finally got service... probably sat at the table with no waitress for 10 minutes. Beer selection was good... some of the normal all the time stuff as well as some brewery only releases. Plenty on the menu to choose from, as well as a few choices for non meat eaters... everybody in our group enjoyed the food. Price was pretty reasonable. My gf and I both had a couple pints as well as a few of the 5oz samples, split a sandwich, and split an app... bill was around $40.

Next time I make it out to Michigan, I'll definately try to go back.

CHEERS!!

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Photo of brasilkid16
3.63/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

A local pioneer in craft brewing that has taken into its ways. Good, but not the best.

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Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -19.6%
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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Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 131,870 ratings
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