Founders Brewing Company

Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BA SCORE
88.2%
Liked Their Beers
3.96 w/ 137,349 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:
32,917
Ratings:
137,349
Liked:
121,093
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%
 
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,076 |  Reviews: 316
Photo of RolandBlunts
3.48/5  rDev -23.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2

Photo of Florida9
3.48/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

 3,131 characters

Photo of Robdiesel21
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of HereforBeer
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of mattboyer182
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of illpass78
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%

Photo of Commando
3.59/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

 426 characters

Photo of Sabtos
3.59/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

 964 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.59/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

 774 characters

Photo of Yetiman420
3.6/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

 2,433 characters

Photo of JuanAlberto
3.6/5  rDev -20.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Photo of bbeane
3.63/5  rDev -20.2%
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!!

 695 characters

Photo of brasilkid16
3.63/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

86 characters

Photo of bueccd
3.65/5  rDev -19.8%
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!

 265 characters

Photo of emma_problema
3.65/5  rDev -19.8%
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!

 263 characters

Photo of KyBux
3.66/5  rDev -19.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75

Photo of assman79
3.68/5  rDev -19.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25

Photo of BStalf21
3.7/5  rDev -18.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

As a big fan of Founders beers I couldn't help being disappointed with my visit to there brewpub. As a first time customer I was confused with the flow and set up. You walk in and their really isn't anything directing you or anyone helping you. Seems pretty disorganized. It's a very large wide open bar. Cafeteria style serving system. I had to wonder to find a place to sit, menu's, beer lists, and stand in line's.

Once I figured out the system it was ok. But I'm not a big fan of standing in line every time I want a beer or retrieving my food when a buzzer goes off. There were a few waitress walking around mostly cleaning up after people, but they would take drink orders if they happened to come your way at the right time. Never felt like they were checking on me though.

The Food was very good, deli style sandwiches named after their beers. And, all the typical offerings were great on tap as to be expected from Founders beer. They brewpub only offering for the most part I wasn't that thrilled with. I thought they were good but wouldn't order them again. They seemed to be playing it safe on a couple styles appealing to the masses which I suppose I cant fault them for, but I was hoping for more.

The gift shop/beer to go pick up left a lot to be desired as well. Although, the person working in there was the most helpful I dealt with in my entire visit.

 1,375 characters

Photo of pfhanlon
3.7/5  rDev -18.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 1

Photo of MysticRuler
3.72/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -18.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Visited in early August, 2013: in the midst of their expansion woes. With that in mind:

Trying to ignore the construction mess, I can see the brewpub was and will be an attractive location for beer enthuiasts. A rather limited number of beers on tap, with only a few that aren't widely available. Their latest higher volume, limited release, Mango Magnifico, was on tap (and recommended), as was a single hop Mosaic and maybe 2 other taproom only beers. For a brewery with as much legacy and variety as Founders I expected more. For comparison, probably at least twice as many beers available at Bell's Eccentric Cafe (which I would more strongly recommend). And beers to go? ... only about 4-5 choices: fewer than any of the local beer stores I visited that week.

So, I was disappointed but will need to return, if possible, after the expansion is complete.

 861 characters

Photo of AaronGreenman
3.73/5  rDev -18%
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.

 360 characters

Photo of Reneejane
3.73/5  rDev -18%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

The atmosphere was appropriately industrial. They are named after their original brewing locale, a foundry, and they seem to carry that heritage forward. There was a great brewing setup in the back with lots of glass windows so you could really watch what was happening. We visited on a Saturday night, and I felt the music was way too loud and intrusive. But, the saving grace was a ridiculously cheap juke box. It wasn't a place for a cozy evening though! We got food at the cafe counter. I felt that for cafe type food, they did a good job, but I had wanted something more substantive than sandwiches, so I was actually a little disappointed. Read the menu first, and decide if you want to eat elsewhere!

Now onto the beer, there was a huge selection of beers on tap. I really enjoy the Founders brand of beer and I was not disappointed one bit by the array of beers that were on tap that evening. I also liked the very diverse styles available on any given night.

I don't think I've ever rated something with a one dollar sign. But, when the bill came we were stunned at how inexpensive it was! The beer is all very reasonably priced and the sandwiches are sandwich-priced. So, actually pretty cheap.

 1,206 characters

Photo of LarooG
3.75/5  rDev -17.6%

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 88.2% out of 100 with 137,349 ratings
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