Founders Brewing Company

Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
BA SCORE
3.96/5
137,937 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:
107
Reviews:
33,058
Ratings:
137,937
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.54/5
Reviews:
316
Ratings:
1,079
pDev:
10.13%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,079 |  Reviews: 316
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I love this Brewery. All of the people there are very nice and are free to answer any and all questions about beer. I used to take my family there when they were in town from NC. It is a great place to go after a long day and have a nice cold pint of quality beer. My favorite beer on tap is the Imperial Stout. It is about 10% alcohol so after one, all of the days worries just disappear. They also have a cream ale that is great and a Dirty Bastard or Fat Bastard or some kind of Bastard Scottish Ale that is exceptional as well. All in all, a great place to relax with friends. Prices are reasonable as well.

 611 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was sketchy about posting a review because this place already has >100, meaning there's good info about it on BA already. But I thought I'd add my thoughts anyways, after my first visit.

The current (new) location is really big, seating for well over 100. Long bar with plenty of tap, all Founders beers. There were a lot of special batches while I was there:
Canadian Breakfast Stout
Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
Barrel Aged Red's Rye
Maple Mountain Brown
Peppercorn Ale
Sweet Darkness
And of course regular Founders beers on tap as well.

1 dartboard and a cool spot with a pool table, $1 per game. Everything was great, the food, the beer, the crowd. My only real complaint is that the food must be purchased from a window, not placed together on one bill with the beer. You can have drinks brought to your table but the server won't order or get your food. I thought it a strange set-up, maybe it's due to some license issues? I can only guess.

 955 characters

Photo of Mothergoose03
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a very busy place. Lots of seating and very open makes it a loud atmosphere but too bad. Bar service is good, wait service is average. Founders has an excellent reputation and it lives up to it. The quality was excellent but the broadness of the selection was only average. You can get free peanuts. Of course try the breakfast stout. No flights but the small samples are relatively inexpensive. Their werw a decent specialty beers. Parking is sparse compared to the seating . I guess overall the service could be better for the level of business, otherwise a decent brewpub

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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.

 2,433 characters

Photo of Dicers
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of seanchai
4.29/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of tommy5
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of GRG1313
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is without question one of the best craft breweries in the country. Every beer is just top notch and not only worth tasting but worth drinking.

KBS is a stout by which others are judged, and that's just the beginning. Other barrel aged stouts are exceptional, with the "draft only" Black Biscuit being one of the best beers in the country...period!

The staff is beyond knowledgable and could not be more friendly or accomodating. The selection of beers available is extensive and includes the rare and hard to get and the more extreme.

This is a brewery that really cares about its partrons and does all in its power to generate good will, good beer, future customers and provide the best product possible. This place is so good it's almost "an event" to go and drink and eat.

Great place!

 800 characters

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

When I mention the term "experience" when talking about breweries, this place is the pinnacle of what comes to mind. This place has amongst the best beer in the country, live music (the first time I went there was a pretty good jazz band), bar games, well staffed bar, and extensive beer list. Some of the beers you find here are some of the very ones people want to see bottled far away. You will want to try these beers, so get a room. Feels like a sophisticated night club (not shallow, but tastefully done) in the evening, a family outing during the day. Front center of building opens up allows outdoor libations, and fresh air within. Lots of thought has gone into this place which leads to the final question, What are you waiting for?

Perfect Score

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Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Took a 3 hour road trip from my Friends place in Indiana to check out the home of the Mighty KBS and Nemesis brews. We got there and needed to find a side street to park on because the lot they had was kind of small and filled up already. The look of the place seemed like it might have been an old loading dock of some kind. There were several retractable windows/doors that opened up so people could sit either inside or outside. The place was full so my friend and I sat outside. We ordered a few beers at the bar trying the Apricot Swarm, the Dirty Darkness and the Syrup Noche. All the beers we had were great. The sandwich my friend ordered was also great according to him. The place had a very friendly environment going on there. The employees were knowledgeable and helpful on suggestions about food and beer. I would have loved to hang out longer here, I easily could have with all the stuff they had to try there but due to time frame I was in we had to pack it in early. I look forward to possibly going back there though. It was a great place.

 1,056 characters

Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
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 akorsak
3.98/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Visited on 17-Jul-09 as part of the Michigan tour.

Atmosphere: The tasting room is wide open with a slew of tables, both inside and outside. A long bar greets you on entrance, with the kithcen at right.

Quality: The waitstaff ignored my repeated cajoles for a KBS growler. Other than that, the whole order your own food thing is strange and costs them service points on principle. Glassware did come to us with lipstick marks from a previous drinker.

Service: Drinks were from a server but not food. WTF? This sits in the precarious middle ground.

Selection: 8 or so regular beers on tap with Maple Mountain Brown, KBS, BA Red's Rye and BA Imperial Stout were special additions. A very nice line-up.

Food: My Godfather was delicious and the other finger food that we got were passable. I'd visit again just for the stout beers.

 832 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.21/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of aoampm
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of BillRoth
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Was on Beer Safari in Northern IN and Michigan few years ago, and had the good fortune of hitting FFF, Bell's, Dark Horse and Jolly Pumpkin. Each had much to rave about. Best surprise was dark Horse...gteat biker bar with world class beer and super people.
But I find myself looking back and wishing I could get back to Founders, which really took top spot on that trip.
Went in alone and was almost immediately invited to sit with a fun crowd, We sampled beers pretty much across the Founders offerings. Great IPAs and a sublime Imperial Stout on tap. Pretty much thought I had enough, and ready to go when the word got out they had just tapped a keg of CBS. Needless to say the night took a turn that kept me at Founders for a few more hours and in Grand Rapids not my intended destination @ MSU in East Lansing. Oh well.
I've loved the Founders brews for years, but I learned you really need to get there and get them fresh on tap with a table full of pilgrims..be they locals or out of towners. It's just a great brew pub...and maybe they'll tap another special keg when you show up.

 1,087 characters

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

Visited a couple of times over the weekend during the 2011 KBS release party.

The atmosphere in this place is great. It is very big with lots of tables and a huge bar. The service was generally knowledgeable and friendly and the prices were very good for the quality of beer being served.

Had some KBS on tap as well as the Oatmeal Stout and Imperial Stout. Overall tap selection was very good - a good mix of the regular lineup, seasonals and some special brews.

I will definitely return some day soon...

 511 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Super dank dirty open bar room, nothing more nothing less. All wood, killer (loud!) jukebox, and tons of peanut shells on the floor. Super cool clientele, and since this damn city (although beautiful in many ways) closes so freakin' early this place is definately one of the few true "hot spots" in this city. It's open until 2am as well, nice, and for this town rare! Quality of the beers is awesome and at around $3.50 a pint a steal! Service is fast, friendly and to the point. Perfect. Selection is great as well 10 killer draughts with breakfast stout, 2003 imperial stout, and a new double ipa on tap as well. I also got to talk to the brewers here, and they were full of info, to the point, and super down to earth guys....two BIG thumbs up all around for this place...Killer.

 783 characters

Photo of mynie
3.8/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

The building is very long. While I wasn't in Grand Rapids long enough to get a full read on the place, this seemed to be tucked into a fairly touristy area (at least, as touristy as Grand Rapids gets), but I'd say the crowd was 90-odd percent local. Middling Michigan bands were playing loudly in the bar area, but since the building is very long the bar area stretched out forever and you could ignore them if you wanted to.

The good:
Decent vibes, good prices. As busy as they were, they were well-staffed and the staff was on top of their shit. They had a nice gift shop off to the side, so that if you wanted to buy take-home beer you didn't need to bother the bartender. All the beers on tap were Founders, and Founders makes excellent beer. Also, there was a nice big patio.

The bad:
No growlers. No guest taps. No rare taps. Nothing I couldn't easily find in bottles. This isn't the biggest crime, I guess, since Founders regularly offers a great selection of wonderful beer. But usually brewers give you a little something as a reward for visiting them, you know?

Founders is worth stopping at just for what they've done to help out the craft beer industry, just to be able to say that you've been there. Just don't expect anything mind blowing.

 1,260 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.07/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of Iamjeff6
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Bung
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Large building in an old warehouse. Much better than their old facility, which was in kind of a pretentious apartment/condo building. Open atmosphere, but the wood throughout the building makes it warm enough. Inviting for the hippie freaks, which most good brewpubs are. Nearly all their regular beers are on tap, plus a couple extras. Wish they had some more bottles for purchase. It appears people traveling from afar are dissappointed their is no reward for their travel. Personally I like the fact I do not have to live near them to get their brews, unlike ALL the other breweries that compete with Founders top offerings.(Three Floydds, etc.) Bells is about the only other good brewery you can also widely get their offerings without having to wait in a line wrapped around their dumpy little building and parking lot. So in the end, if you are looking for some place that you are special to have found, this is not it. If you want a place to get some fine craft beers, listen to some music, this place is what you're looking for.
Visit 5/5/09. Founders is probably the best dark(porter, stout) brewer around. There may be others that have 1 or 2 better than any given Founders, but Founders stable of stouts and porters might be able to be matched, but not beaten.

 1,271 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of spointon
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
Brewery rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 137,937 ratings
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