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official site foundersbrewing.com

Founders Brewing Company
235 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 776-1195

latitude: 42.958682
longitude: -85.673450
City Information Page Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids Information Page
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overall average: 90.38


this location has wifi availableWifi Available | this location has cask availableCask Beer | this location does not allow indoor smokingIndoor Smoking | this location has adequate parkingAvailable Parking
this location is close to public transportationPublic Transit | this location uses proper glasswareProper Glassware | this location has outdoor seatingOutdoor Seating | this location is family friendlyFamily Friendly
Value: Moderate
Averaged from 13 reviews.

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Selection: 5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 5 | Food: 3.75
vgatto's (371) view vgatto's forum profile send vgatto a private message Overall Score: 100.0 this is the high score for this location

Founders Brewery opened in 1997, as Michigan's 3rd brewery. Their initial beers were not well-received and the brewery nearly closed. The turning pint came with the desperate invention of Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. From then on, the brewery has grown steadily and is now one of the best in the world! In 2007 they moved to the present facility, which has large two-story red corrugated steel buildings. In front are several grain silos and a beer garden, which has plenty of tables and an outdoor bar. Behind the brewery is a parking lot for customers, and windows allow you to see a huge farm of dozens of tall stainless steel fermenters inside. Walk around to the front of the building to enter the gift shop or tasting room. The tasting room is huge and has many tables and a long arcing 18 chair wooden bar. Chalkboards overhead list their house beers on tap. They have 15 beers on tap, which are available by glass or sampler flight, and they also offer growlers to go. The tasting room menu consists of appetizers, salad, pizza, and a great variety of delicious deli sandwiches. The service is friendly and informative.

I was fortunate to take their tour during my visit. The group meets in the 2nd floor Centennial Room, and the tour starts at their original 30bbl brewing vessels, and nearby is a farm of midsize stainless steel fermenters. Next stop is a glance at their newer 85bbl brewing vessels, then past the quality control lab. The packaging area has pallets of kegs ready to be washed and filled, and the next room houses their large bottling and canning line, which runs steadily to package their precious product. The tour continues to their huge farm of 28 large fermenters, then to the annex fermentation room with 30 more huge 500-600bbl stainless steel fermenters. The tour concludes with a stroll through their offices and back to the Centennial Room. The facility is a very large operation, and the industrial scale is a stark contrast to most small microbreweries. Founders' impressive craft product line is well deserving of this expansion, and I highly recommend seeking out their great variety of ales, some of the best in the US!
reviewed on: 2014-11-25 18:46:16 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 4 | Atmosphere: 5 | Food: 4.5
JVduck's (8) view JVduck's forum profile send JVduck a private message Overall Score: 93.3

This was the place that made me realize what the craft brew scene was all about. After one visit, and a tasting of the Dirty Bastard scotch ale, I was hooked. We have been back several times since before going out for the night.

Early visits we found it was tough to get a server to take care of you, but going up to the bar solved that one easily enough. Lately however, we have noticed the waitstaff has been much more accommodating. Perhaps more waitstaff on duty has helped?

Often it is tough to find a table, but grabbing a pint, then standing for a few will often lead to at least sharing a large table with some friendly strangers.

With a good selection of their staple beers, it is nice to see some seasonal rotation as well as experimental brews on tap. The best part about visiting the taproom, is the opportunity to mix. My favorite is the "Dirty-Oats" which is Dirty Bastard mixed with the Oatmeal Stout. Close second is a Dirty Breakfast.

Don't be fooled by the food menu being "only sandwiches". Those are some creative and high cuisine tastes!

reviewed on: 2013-04-13 21:16:37 this review is based off of 10 or more visits
 
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Selection: 4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Atmosphere: 4 | Food: 3.75
mcarrell's (3) view mcarrell's forum profile send mcarrell a private message Overall Score: 80.0

I have only been "inside" Founders a couple times, but have been to Founder's Fest twice now and have been enjoying their brews for many years.

The pub itself is average, but spacious and it is a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. There's no real wait staff that come around to you, you have to go place and pickup your order, but that's just fine. The food is actually pretty good. But it's the beer that you go here for anyway.

Usually plenty of choices on tap. and often good music/bands playing. If you like craft beer then Founders is a must stop if you are in the Grand Rapids/West Michigan area.
reviewed on: 2011-10-25 11:03:14 this review is based off of 2 or more visits
 
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Selection: 4 | Service: 3.5 | Atmosphere: 3.5 | Food: N/A
beerwolf77's (34) view beerwolf77's forum profile send beerwolf77 a private message Overall Score: 73.3 this is the low score for this location

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.

reviewed on: 2011-04-26 15:20:45 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 5 | Food: 5.0
EotS's (3) view EotS's forum profile send EotS a private message Overall Score: 100.0

Founders is my Home Base - I'm a mug club member there.

I've been to nearly 3/4 of Michigan's 70+ brewpubs, and have probably had beer from all of them as I attend the annual beer festivals regularly. Founders is my top-rated brewery in the state of Michigan.

The beers here are bold and high gravity. You'll usually find 10-15 different beers on tap, and while they've recently added a few lawnmower beers to appeal to the Bud Light crowd, real beer lovers will not be disappointed with the selection available to them.

Prices are on the low end for Michigan brewpubs as well. While many lesser pubs are charging $4.50 and $5.00 a pint, Founders is still at $3.75 for a much better beer. The specialty beers run higher.

The pub is awesome, with a nice long bar, high ceilings, garage doors that are wide open to the patio in the Summer, and no smoking (even before the statewide ban.)

The deli is a new addition with the new location, and the sandwiches are creative and fantastic. You order them at a separate window - this is true to the Founders tradition - Beer first. You can even order delivery food from another local restaurant, they don't mind. It's all about the beer.

reviewed on: 2010-09-15 22:22:58 this review is based off of 10 or more visits
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 5 | Food: 4.5
jhull's (3) view jhull's forum profile send jhull a private message Overall Score: 100.0

Founder's was phenomenal. While the atmosphere can be somewhat chaotic, there beer is worth it. The food is simple, yet classy as the menu attempts to raise standard bar food to a new level, and succeeds.

The beer is amazing. The sampler can be as cheap or rich as one desires, as there is no limit to how many or which beer one may select. Depending the location on the beer board, the prices vary.

The Kaiser Curmudgeon was probably the best beer of the trip.
reviewed on: 2010-09-01 02:29:55 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 4.5 | Service: 4.25 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Food: 4.5
decoman's (58) view decoman's forum profile send decoman a private message Overall Score: 88.3

So I finally made to founders new location... Very nice indeed. Very long bar and plenty of seating. I went in on a Friday right when they opened. Was able to talk to the bar tenders and gave a great description of all the beers on tap that weren't bottled and I was not familiar with. Service kind of tailored off as it got crowed but there were plenty of people working which was nice to see.

Black Biscuit was a favorite and Nemesis was on tap and was good as well. Mint man Stout not bad certainly can taste the mint. Lil Froot was little too sweet for me. Most of there standards are on tap as well.

Food is deli type sandwiches and a wide variety they have, certainly would not have an issue finding something you like, even have the option to build your own. I also had the beer cheese dip with sour dough toast wedges, recommend that it was good!

I left around 2 pm and the place was packed so its a popular place for sure, they also have shirts, hat and other merchandise for sale there as well and do allow growler fills on the standards but not the specialties.

Certainly a mainstay for beer in GR.
reviewed on: 2010-02-09 21:00:44 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 4.75 | Food: 4.5
dzouras's (49) view dzouras's forum profile send dzouras a private message Overall Score: 98.3

I had tried Founders beer many times in bottles, but at long last I was able to visit the source of beer deliciousness.

I walked in around 4PM on a Saturday. There were quite a few people, but we were able to find two spots at the bar.

The friendly bartender listened to our story of being from out of town and he suggested the sample sizes so we could maximize the variety.
The beer menu is posted on a chalkboard on the wall. We started at the beginning and ordered 5 at a time until we had tried them all.

I didn't have a bad beer all night. Some of my favorites:
Red's Rye
Breakfast Stout
Chai Mate
Double Trouble

I only had one night, but I could easily spend a week at Founders. The bartenders took good care of us and several times they offered up sample mixes to show new ways to enjoy the beer.

The food menu was limited to sandwiches, but there were many varieties. The odd thing about the food is that you have to go to a window and order separately from the beer. They give you a "pager" that will light up when your food is ready. The sandwiches that we had were very tasty. I would recommend them.

So overall... beer was fantastic and so were the bartenders. The sandwiches were good, but I didn't like the self serve window. Perhaps that allowed the bartenders to give better service. The atmosphere of the place was unpretentious and allowed us to enjoy ourselves. I wish Founders was not so far from Chicago. I would love to have this as my neighborhood bar.

[update: July 2010]
I spent some time at Founders over the course of a couple of days. I still LOVE this place. The beer is fantastic. I was so happy to have Old Curmudgeon and Kentucky Breakfast stout on tap. It gave me a reason to stay in Grand Rapids for a couple of days.
reviewed on: 2009-12-28 11:11:54 this review is based off of 2 or more visits
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 4.25 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Food: 5.0
Organized Chaos's (4) view Organized Chaos's forum profile send Organized Chaos a private message Overall Score: 90.0

I frequent this establishment, living only 3 miles away.

Beer Selection - When it comes to craft beer, this is as good as it gets, Great Stouts, IPA's, Maple Aged Experimentals, Fruit beers etc....

Atmosphere is relative IMO, come during the day, it's mostly suits, mug club night bring all kinds and it's packed and the jam band hippish music brings many of the regulars.

Service can be hit or miss, generally its good, but alot of people only make it out when the place is packed. It's tough as a regular to get a beer easily during these times. Come in a weekday and the bartenders will BS with you all day long.

Awesome deli food.
reviewed on: 2009-08-18 23:27:36 this review is based off of 10 or more visits
 
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Selection: 5 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Food: N/A
marcobrau's (11) view marcobrau's forum profile send marcobrau a private message Overall Score: 96.7

A stop for lunch at this huge tap room for Founder's Brewing Co. was very enjoyable. I wasn't that hungry so I was pleased that I could order a half sandwich (more room for beer.) I ordered the BLT that I believe was more of BLAT (avocado included) and shared a sampler with a friend. I was very happy to try both the Kentucky Breakfast Stout and the Backwoods Bastard. My liver was probably not so happy about this, but the liver is evil and must be punished. The staff was professional and helpful. The food was delicious and the beer was even more delicious. Must find more Black Rye. It looked like it was quite the live music venue on weekend. This is a jewel in Grand Rapids crown. I will be back.
reviewed on: 2008-11-13 23:23:04 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 4 | Service: 5 | Atmosphere: 5 | Food: N/A
xbeermanx's (2) view xbeermanx's forum profile send xbeermanx a private message Overall Score: 93.3
this user does not have enough reviews for this score to count

I was a huge Founders fan when they first opened in Grand Rapids. I would go there any chance I got. But eventually all good things must come to an end. As they became more popular, the crowds grew and the smoking was horrible. You couldn't even open the door to the place without it looking like a chimney.

But, they decide to move and go smoke-free. I thought it was a good time to give them a try again (although I never gave up their beer). The new establishment is fantastic. If you go on a Saturday afternoon when they are a tad slower, the service is great.

So now you have great beer a decent atmosphere and you don't leave smelling loke an ashtray!
reviewed on: 2008-04-08 13:45:47 this review is based off of 10 or more visits
 
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Selection: 4.75 | Service: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Food: N/A
frazbri's (78) view frazbri's forum profile send frazbri a private message Overall Score: 91.7

Founders: Bigger & Better.

I love the new location. It's still a fun place. The beers still great. The choices are back to pre-move levels. It's not smoky in the new digs. What's not to love?

They make great use of the former shipping structure. The place was full of people, but it still had an open aire about the place. The new reincarnation of Founders is fantastic.
reviewed on: 2008-02-24 19:10:08 this review is based off of one visit
 
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Selection: 4.75 | Service: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Food: 3.75
hugbee's (75) view hugbee's forum profile send hugbee a private message Overall Score: 83.3

I'd best review this place before they move into the new space that's planned for later this year...

Founders 10th anniversary party rocked.... for selection.
Devil dancer, 05 imperial stout, handpull dirty bastard, braggot (not so good) reds rye, breakfast and kbs.... oh and a slightly green deca.... it was pretty damn impressive.... belgian wheat, ipa, porter, they had about 14 on today, lots of selection...

On a good night, when you walk from your table to the bar, there's a crunch crunch crunch..... that's the peanut shells under your feet... The tasting room itself is one big main room, with a wall seperating the two bathrooms.... The stain glass founders sign and the views into the brewery make you feel right at home. I like the bar, nice 13 person oxblood job and the little bar, which usually for events, has on a few more beers, tho the cash only at the little one is a bit annoying and the lack of cash station (or I was too drunk to find it) in there is challenging.... I really like those chairs at the bar, the backed founders logo high chairs.... The cooler to the right of the bar holds the take home availability so that's usually that, tho it doesn't hurt to ask the bartender if they have anything in the back if you've traveled long distances.... you never know... lotsa swag now, and it screams at you as you walk in.... still smoking but that changes with the venue change.... so don't cry non smokers. There's a computer over in the corner for internet usage, and on most friday and saturday nights, a band of sorts.

on a night like this, service is crap, people wanna fight to get to the bar and get their beer... even with 3 bartenders, service is crap, but they're tryin.... and there is a who you know policy for growlers, so don't get pissed when you visit and wanna take home, get refused, and joe local gets two growlers of the beer you wanted.... (oh wait.... be pissed, that would suck) But overal when it's calm, founders is a good place to be and beer is never wanted, because it's usually in hand.

They have lunch at this place on certain days and they had a nice spread out tonight which I decended on like a cannibal who's just ate a bunch of vegans.... decent... If you don't care for what's on tap as far as food at founders, for the moment you can jump into the cambridge house which is connected but not directly to the brassworks... it's on the east side and founders is sort of in the middle, these are drunk directions and as long as you take in facing the building as north, you shant have a problem....
reviewed on: 2007-06-24 02:53:09 this review is based off of 2 or more visits
 
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Selection: 4.25 | Service: 3.75 | Atmosphere: 4 | Food: N/A
beerinator's (126) view beerinator's forum profile send beerinator a private message Overall Score: 80.0

[NOTE: this is a review of the old location. I will revise to be a review of the new location soon]

Founders Brewing consists of an 8 to 10 stool bar and about 25 low tables scattered throughout the room. The bar passes out peanuts and the shells end up getting tossed on the floor and crushed under your heels.

There were 8 or 9 beers available on draft during our visit. Several of these were draft only and made for a very interesting tasting session.

Service at the bar seemed rather uninterested during my visit. This obviously could be atypical since I have only visited once.

They have bands performing at night and the bar was rather packed when we stopped by. I didn't really stay for the bands (but our friends did and they thought they were good).

A beer trip to Grand Rapids really can't be complete without a stop here. They sell bottles for to-go as well as serving as a regular bar. There were parking lots across the street and they seemed to have plenty of street parking.
reviewed on: 2007-05-30 12:46:39 this review is based off of one visit