Behind The Brewer; featuring Tamara McKenney and Mike Webster of Apponaug Brewing Company


Photo: Zach Mastrianni via House Enterprise


For the first time in over a few months, the BBB podcast hit the road and recorded an in-person interview. We went to Warwick, RI, to a special place called Apponaug Brewing Company.


Apponaug is one of the newer breweries in the Ocean State, but they are quickly becoming one of the more popular ones. They are home to a fantastic variety of craft beers, headlined by hoppy IPAs and European-style lagers. They house a tasty menu, including our guilty pleasure, sweet potato tots poutine. The atmosphere is immaculate, located in the repurposed Pontiac Mills, which is nestled along the Pawtuxet River. More importantly, though, they are redefining what it means to be a brewery. By the books, they are technically a "brewpub". They are an establishment selling beer brewed on the premise and are headlined as a restaurant. However, Apponaug is much more than just that.


The story of Apponaug begins with Tamara McKenney. After working in corporate and becoming an empty nester, she wanted to build something that was fun. So Tamara and her husband Mark entered into the industry, after being impressed with the comradery of the beer community. Tamara had a vision in mind that would strengthen the bond that the craft beer community instills. Her business model revolves around three pillars, which Tamara describes as the "tripod". Great food, good beer, and community. To make this all happen, Tamara built a star-studded team, that is backed by an unteachable trait, passion.


Her latest and biggest move was the hire of head brewer, Mike Webster. Mike has been working in breweries since 2014. He started his career as a cellarman in a little place called Tree House Brewing, ever heard of it? He learned the craft and furthered his knowledge, leading him to become a brewer at Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, CT. Now at Apponaug, he has built an impressive beer program, that showcases his expertise and love for craft beer.


We spent the evening over a few cold crafted beers, delicious food, and detailed conversations ranging from homebrewing to business ideas. We thank the crew over at Apponaug for the amazing hospitality! The podcast dives into the details of the inception of Apponaug, what makes the Rhode Island spot special, what the future looks like, and how they overcame COVID-19. For more information on Apponaug, head to their website, or stop by and say cheers to Tamara and Mike.