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Founders Brewing Company
Active Beers: 78
Beer Ratings: 63,913
Beer Avg: 3.96
Taps: 18 / Bottles: 7
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
235 Grandville Ave SW
phone: (616) 776-1195
Monday - Saturday: 11am - 2am
Sunday: 12pm - 12am
Non-smoking Indoors, huge front porch for smoking. (heated winter room coming!)
Much larger room, with huge 25-seat custom mahogany bar.
Expanded Deli Menu and Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 11am-11pm
Live Music Thursdays and Saturdays featuring Stage, House PA and Sound
Pool Table, Real Dart Board, and Shuffleboard.
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 247 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
One really nice place. I was out in the area and had to stop and try some of the offerings on tap. So myself and fellow BA sopor met up at Founders, and sampled some of the wares. First off, the atmosphere is nice... high ceilings, a great view of the brewing facilities, and a huge board posting whats on tap. Nice. I was lucky enough to meet David Engbers, vice president of founders while I was there. He came right up and introduced himself and his wife, and was very cordial. Not everyday, do you get to meet the VP of a great and innovative micro brewery, and not all people in the Beer industry are so kind to BA's. In anycase, we chatted for about 10 minutes, and I got back to the beers. Many offerings, from light, seasonal brews, to heavy, warming stouts and ales. Something for everyone. The food is limited to peanuts and crackers and the such, but a wad of places deliver, so the food issue is easily addressed. Value? For what you get, the value is really quite good. Some of the best beer i've had on tap, at reasonable prices. I will be back again.
01-18-2006 23:02:08 |
More by Frozensoul327
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Well this review will show how much of a beer geek I have become. My only plan for today was to drive 123 miles one way to Grand Rapids to visit Founders brewery. Excellent directions on mapquest. Most of my friends don't appreciate craft brews, so I had no one to ride with me. I must be a loser. Arrived at the brewery shortly after noon. Not too busy, so I sat at the bar. Nice relaxed, casual atmoshere inside. High ceilings and wood floors give this place a nice rustic feel. Nice big windows to look outside. One computer terminal is available for on line access. The bar seats about 8 or 10 people, with many table and chairs available for bigger groups. There is a chalkboard above the bar with the taplist and alcohol content of their brews. Excellent waitstaff, my mug never went try. I enjoyed a breakfast stout, centennial ipa, and a pint of their oatmeal stout. All were very good and tasty. They also let me sample their Rubaeus and Belgium Razz, both fruit beers with rasberrries, both very tasty, the Belgium Razz has a higher alcohol content, and has just a little more flavor. I wish they would bottle it. Peanuts, cheese and pretzels, and a variety of deli sandwiches are available. Prices are reasonable and their food is good. I bought a growler of their IPA for $11, refills are $8. I also was able to pick up a Devil Dancer and Black Rye t-shirt for $16 a piece. They have a cooler there to purchases bottled beer. Two hours drive there,two hours at the brewery, and two hours ride back. What a great way to spend a day off from work! Highly recommenend!!! I can't wait to make many return visits. Thank you Founders!!!
12-31-2005 15:43:40 |
More by BigDaddyWil
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Situated inside an old factory/warehouse this place can be easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for. Let's not even get started on all the detours in Grand Rapids right now that don't help the situation much, but I digress. The pub has a real cool feel to it, high multipaned windows let in plenty of light in the early autumn afternoon we stopped by. Large interior windows allow one to peer into the inner working of the brewery. Exposed ceilings and old hardwood floors, nice ambiance. The beer selection was pretty good with 8-10 beers ready to go. Everything I had was very well made, as one might expect really. Service was fast, friendly and knowledgable. It was pretty dead early in the day, but I figure that was a good thing, had plenty of time to sit, sip and smile. I didn't try the food, but it looked like they had a decent deli sandwich menu. Prices were spot on for the quality I think.
11-08-2005 08:55:05 |
More by Gaisgeil
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A few hours later, we arrived in Grand Rapids, somewhat beaten from an early rising, a flight, an hour and change on the road, a lengthy brewery tour, beer, beer, lunch, beer, and another hour on the road. "Somewhat beaten" is not the kind of beaten where you go hit the hotel for a power nap, but rather where it seems that a good coffee (stout) would lightly breeze in a much needed, building, gale second wind...
Our caravan arrived at the Wolverine Brass Building (1922) sometime in the late afternoon. Founders occupies a good portion of the first floor of this old brick building, at least to one side as far as I could see. Large glass panelled front windows, dark slat wood floors showing wear, brick and yellow ochre walls and posts, a brown ceiling with exposed duct work, glass walls to the side and rear, one looking in one a bottling line, the other looking in on fermenters and the brewery itself. Low lighting and candles in Bali mason jars half filled wth malt on the tables. An 8 seat "L" shaped bar sits to the rear corner, with mug club mugs, taps in a single row and an unused beer engine, and blackboards above listing tap selections, specials, and light snacks. (pretzels, peanuts, otherwise, they don't do food there but you can order out or bring in. We had a few pizzas delivered).
A dozen and a half copper topped tables riddle the room. We pulled a pair of them together near the front door. Peanut shells litter the floor, TV's above here and there, a cooler with six packs and cold singles, and an internet terminal in the corner, which I booted up to find that the previous user, someone named (Evil) Davo, had not logged off. I was in his beermail. I mulled over the many possibilites... apologizing to certain BA's for past misdeeds, professing true love (maybe to you), making new friends, alienating existing friends, reviewing, panning great stuff, praising crapy stuff, giving Todd & Jason a piece of his mind, all that, but I behaved, just checking my beermail and logging off. A small pool table to the rear, darts near the front entranceway, and an absolutely kickin' jukebox (Zappa, Dylan, Floyd, Beatles, Stones, Who, Zep, Jimi, Doors, Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Beck, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Bjork, Phish, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, B52's, Wilco, Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse).
We were there for a good few hours. Our first waitstaff person was real good but then she passed the tray off to some kid who (I swear) was wearing a glass pot pipe around his neck on a cord. I called him on it, but he was in denial. He was not so much fun, no, not so much fun at all.
11 taps. The Imperial Brown Ale was greatly malty & hoppy, the Breakfast Stout was thick and all coffee (just the cup of Joe to bring me back to life); the Imperial Stout was thick & roasty; the Belgian Wheat was not so good (and in my opinion, did not get better as it warmed); the Red's Rye was a good hoppy red with just a little Rye flavor; the Dirty Bastard, a brilliant Scotch Ale, was maly & sweet, kind of hoppy, but most serious; the Trois, a 3% 2nd runnings beer was a good mild; the Rubaeus, a Raspberry concoction was sickly sweet (Randy said, "It tastes like jelly", although he claims it got better once it warmed); and the Old Curmudgeon, an Old Ale, was pretty damn good (Phil was looking to bludgen someone with a cudgel regarding the Curmudgeon. Ask Randy if you don't believe me).
Good beer, great company, and an unusually comfortable place. I could do time here.
09-11-2005 21:59:29 |
More by slander
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I stopped into Founder's last week since I was in the area for work. What a treat. I didn't really try their food, but I did have a basket of peanuts. By far the coolest thing about this place is that you throw the peanut shells on the hardwood floor. The decor is nice with a small bar tucked in the back of the place fronted by about 20 or so tables. A pool table, dart board, and big windows looking into the brewing area give the place even more character.
A big chalkboard hangs above the bar noting the days offerings. The back of the bar is covered with glasses and growlers waiting to be blessed with Founder's brew. They will fill a growler with any bear you want. I brought home some Breakfast Stout and some bottles to share with friends. The wait staff is friendly. I sat at a table since the bar was full when I showed up.
They had about 10 beers on tap when I was there including the Imerial Stout, Dirty Bastard, Breakfast Stout, Old Curmudgeon, Trois, Imperial Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Centennial IPA, Red's Rye, and Belgian Wheat. Also in the refrigerator case were bottles of Red's Rye, Dirty Bastard, Centennial IPA, Rübæus, and Pale Ale. On their website they list what's on tap.
By far the surprise of my trip was the Trois. This is a fantastic session beer that should not be missed. Because of it's 3% ABV I'd be many overlook it heading for the 8,9, and 10% beers that are plentiful at Founders. Have a pint of the Trois and you will know what I am talking about. Great session beer hidden amongst the giants.
Founder's was a great stop on my trip and I am very glad I drove out of my way to get there. Great atmosphere and great beer. My total bill for 2 pints, a basket of peanuts, a growler of Breakfast Stout, and 4 bottles to take home was $31. Not bad if you ask me.
08-31-2005 17:17:12 |
More by BrewMaster
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
Made the 2 hour trek from Northern Indiana. I was not disappointed. Every brewery should set something up like this. Just a taproom, but I had loads of fun. They had something like 12 beers on tap inclundin Breakfast Stout and Reds Rye. Service was shakey. I guess that was acceptable because I only saw one person working. Food did the job. Pretzel rods with cheese, and peanuts in the shell. Personally, I don't know what else you could want. Perfect. Its a 2 hour trip for me when Im in the area, but I can see making it again.
08-22-2005 19:41:03 |
More by tjthresh
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This has been my 'local' for the past couple years now and I'm just getting around to reviewing it, please forgive me.
Atmosphere is awesome being it's in an old brick warehouse with windows elevated about 7-8 ft. from the ground. If you drive by to fast, you'll probably miss it. There's a small neon sign in the window: Founder's. Enough room at the bar to sit a dozen. Many 4-top tables that seem to seat about 75 or so? Great place to see some good live music (check their website).
Quality of the beers have always been fresh and solid. I usually find 9-12 on tap at any given time.
Service is great. Knowledgable bartender/s that seem to always have their shi-ite together.
Selection is outstanding. There's the standards with their interesting stylistic variations with seasonals that always hit at the right time - except wheat beer. They don't produce a wheat :-(
Popcorn machine in the corner, and peanuts behind the bar (have to ask though).
Great value for what you get. $4 pint of some of the best microbrew in lower Michigan.
08-17-2005 18:52:08 |
More by malty
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
What a pleasant surprise. My future sister-in-law is from GR, and she's been talking up Founders for months now....so we all made the trek to scenic Grand Rapids a few weeks ago. Founders is located in an old warehouse of some sort just a little ways North of downtown (along the river).
Inside, it's a very casual atmosphere punctuated by the old hardwood floors and metal tables. They had about 10 or so beers on tap, and I tried four. First, the Breakfast Stout was as good as advertised - lots of chocolate, creamy, spicy, roasty, delicious. Next, Red's Rye was a nice change of pace - surprisingly hoppy but also with some toasted biscuit notes. Third, I tried the Scotch Ale - sufficiently malty. Last, I had a pint of their Imperial Brown - wow. Rich, malty, bordering on tasting the alcohol, a big delicious beer.
The server was sweet and attentive, but they don't serve food there beyond pretzels and cheese (they did have a menu for a local deli that delivers, however). The bottom line: Founders is a top-tier brewery that I think is starting to bust out of Bell's shadow in Western Michigan.
08-14-2005 00:32:16 |
More by olacub
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Most of the old review still applied to new Founders, so I haven't removed it, just scroll down. The new building is located downtown a few blocks from the old one, and is a long, flat facility. The biggest difference now is scale: there are numerous bartenders, many more tables, the bar is gargantuan, &c. They also serve food on a more dedicated scale (i.e.: the pay window ala Bell's) and have outside seating, which will be nice during the warmer months.
There are things brought over from the old building, which I appreciated. The chalk boards showing the brews, the peanuts / pretzels sign, and the stained glass of the pints are all incorporated into the new bar. You can still throw peanut shucks on the ground.
Basically, it's new Founders. I still will stop by when I'm in the Grand Rapids area, but I feel that something was lost in the transition to the new facility. They still brew great beer, the staff is still friendly, but everything is on a larger, more impersonal scale. Old Founders felt like that neighbourhood place where you could stop in and see your friends, and the sheer scale of the new facility makes me feel like that is going to be hard to recapture.
I wish them well though, and I hope they can elbow into the MI market the same way Bell's has, they certainly deserve it.
(Old Founders...in the Brassworks)
Founders operates an ale house downtown GR where one can pick up whatever is currently available in bottles, or get a fresh pint or growler right out of the tap.
The ale house is located in the bottom of the large industrial warehouse style building that also houses the brewery, some of which is visible through large glass windows in the tap room.
Inside the tap room things are dimly lit. Several tables are scattered around and there is a small bar, a fridge with some bottles, and a pool table. It's bare bones, but it fits my idea of an ale house: no frills, just beer, conversation and billiards. The "throw your peanut shucks on the ground" convention is also excellent, and really adds to the throwback feel of the taproom. (Legacy note: Old Founders is my 5.0 atmosphere rating, I judge all other bars by the vibe this place had: small, intimate, great beer, not polished but not dirty either.)
There are always a handful of brews on tap, amongst them their seasonals as well as other stand-bys such as Breakfast Stout and so forth and special, tap room only offerings.
For sitting down and having a beer, the service is great. The servers were quick to help us, and more than happy to dole out samples and water as we needed them along the way. I previously bought a couple of growlers from them, and was mildly dissatisfied with their lack of bags to put them in, but I saw some growlers going out sealed up from daylight in boxes recently, so perhaps that is no longer an issue. Overall service was quite good though.
In terms of value, the place is decent, but a little higher than you might expect. Regular offerings, up to and including Dirty Bastard, are 3.50$ for an American pint. The more esoteric special offerings such as the old ales or the special Belgian Razz they have right now are more (more like 4-5$ per snifter). For a bar the prices are quite good, particularly on the heavier, more flavourful offerings, but they seem a little higher than the average micro tap room.
Basically, this is a great place to stop by if you want to go to an old style bar and have some high quality beer in the process. Absolutely not the kind of place where many mainstream sports bar types will feel at home though, and not nearly as over the top as Bell's Eccentric down in Kazoo....but also much more laid back and genuine feeling.
08-02-2005 22:19:28 |
More by CortexBomb
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This is a tasting room of a working brewery. Located in a large factory, this first floor brewery is a treat. A small bar with 10 or so stools and numerous metal top tables give you a place to sit. The beers on tap on last visit numbered 12 and Founders makes great beer. The food menu was mostly sandwiches and they looked good on a busy Monday, but I had just got done with Breakfast. Large doors/windows showed the bottling line, which was in use, and the fermentation tanks. This is not a prim and polished place but if you want great beer at the source, get here.
07-19-2005 23:37:24 |
More by jimbotrost
Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI
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