Founders Brewing Company

BEER AVG
4/5
Founders Brewing CompanyFounders Brewing Company
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

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

(616) 776-1195 | map
foundersbrewing.com

Notes:
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:
100
Ratings:
133,559
Reviews:
31,931
PLACE STATS
Score:
97
Ratings:
1,062
Reviews:
310
Avg:
4.37
pDev:
4.58%
 
 
Taps:
18
Bottles/Cans:
7
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,062 |  Reviews: 310
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of qcbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This is 6th, maybe 7th, time I've been to Founders, and every time I get giddy. Giddy as in I start drumming on the steering wheel as I drive up, I get a huge smile on my face, and I hum some ridiculous tune as I briskly walk up to the door. A lot of it has to do with the amazing beer, of which I really love, but a lot of it is just how comfortable this place makes me feel. While there isn't really anything that screams Founders (minus the big brew tanks behind glass at the end of the room), there is just something that makes me relax completely.

First off, Founders is currently in construction adding a new wing to their facility. I've been here long before that started, and I can't wait to see the out come.

That being said, there is usually (and currently) a large covered front porch as you walk up with 10 circular picnic tables, and also a pint glass rail along the railing defining the edge of the porch (also large heaters above for winter months). Inside, is a large open space with a slew of tables. Granted this place has been hopping every time I've been here, so regardless of how many tables there are, seating is a premium. There is a long 22 seat, curved wooden bar; which is also hard to snag a stool at. High ceilings with exposed frame work, a sky light in the middle, and plenty of acoustical tiles for the stage at the end of the room. Aged wood floors, pale yellow walls with 3 large garage doors on the front (of which I've never seen open), and drop down "dock lights". Oh, and only 1 small tv at the bar, so if you're looking to watch "the game", you may have to squint.

The beer, to me, is classic. 13 beers on draft tonight, but I've been here when there are more...and also when there are less. This is honestly the "downside" to Founders. I'm never sure of which favorite of mine won't be here. And I don't mean seasonals/rarities either, although there is always one or two really great rarities available. Prices are reasonable and split into 3 Classes: 1) for $4 a pint are your standard offerings (the most available for sure) / 2) for $5 a pint for rarities with higher alcohol / 3) rarities in general for $6 a pint. Great beer and usually great selection.

Overall, I never come to Grand Rapids without at least one visit. This to me is one of my favorite bars in the entire US. Reasonably priced, extremely comfortable, and with fantastic beer regardless of season. This is a must stop as far as Im concerned. Have I mentioned it's relaxing here?...

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
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 Dicers
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev -5%
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

 582 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.9/5  rDev +12.1%
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 +14.4%
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 seanchai
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of Mothergoose03
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of tommy5
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of akorsak
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
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 -3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of aoampm
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of BillRoth
4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
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 francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
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 Iamjeff6
4.5/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of mynie
3.8/5  rDev -13%
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 TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Bung
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
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 Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
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 spointon
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Barracudas
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

The day I went there there was some St. Patrick's day celebration nearby, so the crowd naturally went to Founders to get their beer. The huge place was packed both inside and outside, but it was able to accommodate everyone! KBS on tap is AWESOME!

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Photo of ZEB89
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
4 out of 5 based on 133,559 ratings.
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