Apponaug Brewing Company: Women-Owned Brewery in Warwick, RI

Apponaug Brewing Company, Apponaug Brewing Company: Women-Owned Brewery in Warwick, RI, The Travel Bug Bite

After moving to Warwick, Rhode Island, Isaac and I have looked for breweries in the area. We discovered that Apponaug Brewing Company is only three miles from our new home! The great thing about this place is that it has delicious beers, outdoor seating with a fantastic view of the river, and a mouthwatering menu. Plus, it’s owned by two wonderful women!

About Apponaug Brewing Company

Apponaug Brewing company is perfectly located in the historic Pontiac Mill in Warwick, Rhode Island. The 10 barrel brewery is community-driven and crafts a variety of classic styles and uniquely flavored beers.

The Pontiac Mills is a historic textile mill complex located on Knight Street in the village of Pontiac, Rhode Island, within the city of Warwick. The mills produced the original Fruit of the Loom brand of cloth. The mills were built beginning in 1863 by Robert Knight and Benjamin Knight.

The Owners

Apponaug Brewing Company is co-owned by Tamara McKenney and Kris Waugh. Here is some information about them from the website:

Tamara McKenney

“Tamara wanted to create a community around good beer and simple, well-made food. Her journey began almost three years ago. It took 12 months to find a space with the right “feel” for her community. This beautiful space located in the Pontiac Mills and nestled along the Pawtuxet River had been abandoned decades ago and needed a complete restoration. Take a peek at our picture gallery and you’ll see why it took another 2 years to open Apponaug Brewing Company. Welcome to the Apponaug Community.”

Kris Waugh

“Kris came to brewing via an indirect route, she worked in retail for a few years, co-owned a recruiting company with Tamara and owned a boatyard. None of these jobs fed her creative spirit, that combined with her love of baking, led to her to pursue her interest in brewing. Kris would also like everyone to know that she loves cats.”

Read more about the brew crew here.

The History: Talking to Tamara

I was honored to talk to Tamara online, and she was kind enough to tell me a bit more about the history. Tamara is the BrewEO and co-owner of Apponaug Brewing Company. She loves Rhode Island, particularly Kent County. Tamara started looking for a building for the brewery in 2016, and it took her almost an entire year to find the perfect spot.

“I stumbled across the Pontiac Mills Development. I loved the river view; it seemed like this wonderful oasis right off the highway.”

The mill project was just beginning, but Tamara knew it would be the perfect home for Apponaug Brewing. The developer was Larry Silverstein, who owns Union Box Company. Before working on Pontiac Mills, he had done many mill developments in Baltimore and now lives in Newport.

Apponaug Brewing Company, Apponaug Brewing Company: Women-Owned Brewery in Warwick, RI, The Travel Bug Bite

The photo above shows how the mill looked when Tamara decided to lease it for the Apponaug Brewing Company.

“Think no windows, no roof, a crumbling floor, exposed asbestos,” Tamara described. “But I knew the end result would be beautiful. We did all of the interior work for the brewery and the exterior work for the beer gardens.”

Apponaug Brewing Company opened its doors in October of 2018. Unfortunately, they had to close in March of 2020 along with everyone else.

“We were able to utilize our outdoor beer garden to its fullest capacity last summer, and we are looking forward to another great summer.”

Why is it Called Apponaug?

Calling the brewery “Apponaug” is confusing to local Warwick people who know that they are located in Pontiac, not Apponaug. Tamara explains that it always creates lively questions and conversations about their name choice.

“I named it Apponaug after another textile mill in Warwick called the Apponaug Mill, which my grandfather and great grandfather owned.”

About Apponaug Mill

For nearly four decades the Apponaug Company continued to be Warwick’s most significant employer. For many of the immigrants who lived in Apponaug and West Warwick, the company was their sole means of support. They considered themselves fortunate to be able to find steady employment at a time when so many were in the ranks of the unemployed.

Warwick History

About the Beer

Beer is the soul of Apponaug Brewing, and creating great beer in their 10BBL (310 gallon) Brewhouse is what we are all about. The Brewers proudly draw from the rich history of brewing to create fresh takes on classic styles and unique flavors; all served directly from the tanks.

When I visited, there were nine beers on tap, and there was a great selection of IPAs, stouts, and ales. Their full beer selection is even better. I may be biased because I’m originally Ukrainian and Czech, and they happen to have a Czech Pilsner called The Journey!

Beers are available in four, eight and 16-ounce sizes as well as growlers to go. You can check out their beer selection here. For non-beer drinkers, they also offer wines, craft spirits, and cocktails!

About the Food

There is a great selection of food in the taproom. They have pizzas (gluten free options are available,) poutine, fried pickles, tacos, sliders, and there’s even dessert! Not only is the food delicious, but it is also reasonably priced, and the portions are perfect for sharing. No, really, the French fry platter was the size of my head! They have quite a few vegetarian options, and although I didn’t ask, the fries and the chips may even be vegan. Check out the full menu here.

Summary: Apponaug Brewing Company

Needless to say, I may be spending most if not all of my summer in the beer garden of Apponaug brewery. If you live in RI or coming to visit, I definitely recommend you come to the Apponaug Brewing Company. Check out this ridiculously short but fabulous snippet that shows their beer garden and gives you a taste of the atmosphere:

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Apponaug Brewing Company, Apponaug Brewing Company: Women-Owned Brewery in Warwick, RI, The Travel Bug Bite


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