Johnson Lake outside of Lexington, Nebraska is a beautiful, vibrant community that is one of Nebraska’s great vacation spots. While our boys were growing up, we use to stay in a bed and breakfast on the lake every year during the first week of June. The owner of the bed and breakfast would take us out for a boat ride around the lake telling the boys about the great fishing that goes on at Johnson Lake. We had an amazing time relaxing and fishing. My oldest son loved just being outside while my youngest was on the hunt to catch a big one!
It has been about 15 years since my last visit to Johnson Lake. I remember back then we would go a to a close by bar and restaurant at night with the boys. It was fun to grab a bite to eat, play some pool, and I would have a Blue Moon. Back then that was about it for any type of craft beer.
Fast forward 15 years, Michael & Jessica Bliven who grew up in Lexington decided to create a place to make lake living a little more special. Michael, a home brewer for around 15 years has always enjoyed home brewing and sharing his beer with friends and family. Needless to say, it was an easy decision for the couple to create Canyon Lakes Brewing Company.
There was a tremendous amount of sweat equity that went into taking the existing building and turning it into a brewery and restaurant. A labor of love to create a place where people can enjoy a meal and some great craft beer!
We arrived just before noon on the Friday after the Fourth of July and the place was packed! Just 3 weeks after opening and the community was loving every minute of it! We talked to several people who either lived at the lake or were visiting family members there. Everyone was grateful for having such a wonderful place to go to.
Canyon Lakes Brewing Company is truly a family business. We spoke with two of Michael’s sisters that were working feverishly behind the bar to get beers and drinks out to everyone. I had hoped to get to meet Michael, but on this day, he was very busy cooking.
My mission was to get to try the four beers that Canyon Lakes Brewing had on tap. Here is a little bit about each of the beers.
NE - New England style IPA. This beer wasn’t over hazy but had lots of citrus flavor and was very easy drinking.
WC - West Coast IPA. Nice hop flavor with caramel notes.
Brown Ale. Nice and roasty with just a slight bitterness in the backend. A very enjoyable beer.
Porter. Chocolate and coffee notes. A deep rich roastiness.
All the beers were very solid. Currently, I don’t have any ABV or IBU information to share on the beers.
It was nice to see the other local guest taps that Canyon Lakes Brewing had on tap including beers from Thunderhead Brewing out of Kearney, First Street Brewing in Hastings, and Kinkaider Brewing in Broken Bow.
I can’t wait to come back again and see what other beers Canyon Lakes Brewing will have on tap!
Whether you are a local resident, someone staying at the state recreation area, or just passing through, stop in check out Canyon Lakes Brewing Company. I am sure you will enjoy the food, craft beer, and atmosphere.