Circle and Square Brewing Company, Oxford’s new microbrewery, opened its doors to the public last week at 100 Depot Street. The name is a nod to two Oxonian landmarks: the historic Square, which is the center of downtown, and the Circle, the heart of the University of Mississippi.
Circle and Square lies next door to the Oxford University Depot along the tracks of the old Mississippi Central Railroad. According to Sumner Abraham, one of the brewery’s founders, the location serves the city as the railroad once did. It functions as “a transportation hub for rich and poor that welcomes people and ideas from all over,” Abraham said.
“I moved from Charlottesville, Va., another college town. It was amazing that breweries were places that all different types of people from all walks of life would gather, whether they were drinking beer, or they were just hanging out,” Abraham said. “It’s a great place for conversation, fellowship, business meetings, reuniting with old friends, interacting with your family or hanging out with coworkers.”
Upon moving to Oxford, Abraham realized that the city lacked a space for this type of causal company. Until July 2021, there was a law prohibiting microbreweries to exist in the city, but once the law was lifted, the Circle and Square Brewery team was constructed.
Joel Weyenberg is the head brewer at Circle and Square. “He came from Summit Brewing in Minneapolis, which is kind of the crème de la crème of craft brewing in Minnesota. They’ve got hundreds of craft breweries up there,” Abraham said.
Weyenberg said that he got into craft brewing for various reasons, but the science behind the fermentation process really interested him.
“I would say the difference in science is the diplomatic answer, but deep down and dirty it was because we could make it before we were 21,” Weyenberg said.
Because Circle and Square operates in such close quarters to the university, its owners have expressed a commitment to maintaining a good relationship with it. Thus far, the brewery’s proprietors believe they have done a great job stewarding it.
Circle and Square Brewery operates from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. If a Saturday football game runs past the usual closing time, the brewery will remain open until the end of the game.
The brewery offers a variety of food and drink and takes pride in local flavors. They have guest taps and cocktails, as well as sodas and coffee. Appetizers and small bites are offered on their menu, as are vegetarian options.
Much like their menu, Circle and Square has a diverse crowd of customers. The parking lot is shared with a commuter student lot, which gives students the opportunity to grab a quick coffee in the morning. In the afternoons, Abraham said they see a lot of working professionals from the university.
“I found out about Circle and Square through a friend and was immediately interested to see what it would be like. I liked how different it was from anything else we have in Oxford,” Ole Miss alum Channing Martin said. “Unlike anything else Oxford offers, the brewery had a chill atmosphere and plenty of space to eat and drink with all your friends and even your family. It’s not just for college students or just for locals, it’s for everyone.”
The brewery is in the process of arranging details for hosting private events, and is also planning to sell trademark merchandise. Cheers to that.