In a medium bowl toss cheese with flour; set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan melt margarine or butter. Add onion. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until tender. Add 3/4 cup of the apple, the cooked rice, chicken broth, beer, and pepper.
Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Slowly stir in cheese mixture until melted. Stir in half-and-half or light cream. Cook over medium-low heat until just heated through. To serve, ladle into warmed bowls; top with remaining chopped apple. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired. Makes 4 main-dish servings.