Brewery of the Month: Apponaug in Warwick – Where Community Matters

The craft beer industry is a growing sector of the Rhode Island economy. As micro-breweries continue to pop up seemingly everywhere in the state, we visited our second in an ongoing monthly series, the Apponaug Brewery in Warwick.

“Building a community” is a major goal at Apponaug according to co-founder Tamara McKenney. She described the establishment as a “brewery with food, as opposed to a restaurant with beer.”

Head Brewer Justin Tisdale

Apponaug is one of the newer players in the brewpub field, part of a burgeoning local industry that has grown from a handful in the 1990’s to around 30 breweries statewide today. The upstart brewery opened at Pontiac Mills in October, 2018 and since opening, the place has been very busy. The central location, around the corner from the Warwick Mall, has rapidly turned it into a local gathering spot.

Long tables (“community style”) enhance the communal vibe and although TV monitors are available for major sporting events, the emphasis is definitely not on video distractions. In an attempt to downplay cell phone use, they have a ready supply of classic board games which are seeing a lot of action according to McKenney.

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She noted that their clientele ranged from 3 weeks old to around 90 years. The brewpub also has a full liquor license and a popular kitchen, so there’s something for everyone. McKenney stressed the true democratic nature of the establishment, where “the love of beer overcomes everything,” including politics. The idea, she explained, is for patrons to argue over beer styles, not political ideology.

Here for the Beer

Beer wise, the brewery always has “about 6-9 varieties ready to serve” according to Head Brewer Justin Tisdale. They plan to continue serving a wide selection of brews in the coming months, while keeping tabs on the latest trends in beer tastes. The “community” mission carries even further at Apponaug where they rotate beers on tap from other local breweries. On hand recently were brews from Ragged Island and Proclamation, two leading RI establishments.

While there, I sampled several notable brews, including Antilles, a refreshing American Sour, and Optimism, a smooth and mellow Spring Bock. We also dared taste the Annie Edson, a high octane (10.8 ABV) Russian Stout that doesn’t take any prisoners. On a cold afternoon, it served nicely as a mild remedy to a late winter cold this reporter was fighting.

Apponaug Brewery is open Tuesday through Sunday. For hours and more on Apponaug Brewery, visit their web site here.