One of Portland’s most unique nano’s, the four year old Leikam Brewing plans to open a taproom/restaurant and brewery at 5812 E. Burnside in Portland, the former home of Thai Me Up food cart and bar. What has always made Leikam stand out is the family run husband and wife team Theo and Sonia Marie Leikam’s Jewish faith. The pair produces Kosher beer from a building constructed in the backyard of their SE Hawthorne area home in a residential neighborhood of Portland. The Leikam’s Jewish faith educates everything from the names of the beers to the ingredients and recipes. You will be likely to find some of the families culture and community translating into the new taproom, the breweries first.
Though the Leikams are Jewish, they are not a strict kosher family, but do attempt to follow standards set forth by the community which creates hurdles like becoming one of the only certified kosher breweries in the U.S. The operation is a family affair, afterall the brewery is in the families backyard. For instance you can probably expect Sonia Leikam’s retired father working at the new taproom, “Dad is all about being a bartender” she says.
While serving traditional ashkenazi food at the Leikam taproom may prove difficult, serving some kosher dinners and plates has always been part of the breweries long term plans. At the very least, the building is setup to have a food cart outside and the brewery can serve small plates and bites of Kosher food with a pre-ordered Kosher Dinner Series in lieu of a full time operational Jewish restaurant. Sonia Marie Leikam tells us “the main goal was to get a place and now that we actually have closed we can really dream. It has been a 3 year process to find a bigger home and multiple lost offers. We are thrilled.” After meeting with designers and architects they will determine what kind of kitchen they can have but plans already call for a front patio and big backyard outdoor space with seating and lots of community activities from trivia nights to jewelry making classes and local gatherings.
“We will most likely open in stages with a modest menu and smaller taproom and patio until the building is fully done” says Leikam. Part of that slow expansion includes moving the 5 bbl brewhouse to a new home behind the taproom by the end of 2019. Theo Leikam will continue to be in the brewery full-time but they hope to bring on additional staff and continue to offer growler fills at local farmers markets, special bottlings and 32oz crowlers.
Leikam Brewing expects the build out and permitting process on the new E. Burnside taproom will have them opening in early summer, 2019. Follow along via their facebook page.