JOHNSON LAKE — After a fully familial effort, the Canyon Lakes Brewing Company is now open, offering Johnson Lake and area residents a new dining and brewery option.

Michael and Jessica Bliven as well as Michael’s parents, Lupe and Vicki, have been working since last year to prepare the old RC Galley building for their needs.

“Everything had to be taken out,” Jessica said, “We had a crew help with the demo, it was a lot more work than we thought. Michael is very happy to be done with construction, we are happy to be open.”

“It was a huge project, much bigger than I thought,” Michael said, “It was worth it though, we did not cut any corners.”

Canyon Lakes officially opened their doors on Wednesday, June 19. The new brewery currently offers five brews of Michael’s making and will be adding two more soon. Their current ones include brown ale, pale lager, porter, Vienna lager and Jalapeno Cream.

Michael said he is planning on making several more brews and is excited for people to try them, he wants to have people keep coming back and trying the latest brew.

Jessica said all the other alcohol they offer, beer, wine and spirits is exclusively from Nebraska.

“We are starting off with a small menu so we don’t bite off more than we can chew,” Michael said while he was busy in the kitchen opening day, “We will be adding sandwiches and artisan pizza in the weeks to come, it will be different from what people can usually find around here. It will be a learning process for us.”

The main items on the menu are burgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chicken salad. Appetizers are soft pretzels, chicken wings and a nacho platter. Children were not forgotten and they have their own menu featuring nuggets and mini corn dogs.

Canyon Lakes will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Their hours break down differently depending on the day. Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday, 1-8 p.m.

The business held a soft opening when they welcomed alumni graduates back over the weekend, and they are planning a grand opening once they have their feet on the ground, Jessica said.

Michael said it is, “exciting, but a little nerve wracking,” to have the construction behind him but managing now in front of him but said he can, “focus on what we wanted to do in the first place, good food and good flavors.”

“We hope it is a good and fun atmosphere,” he said, “We want people to enjoy it with their families, and try new beer.”

Michael and Jessica are both Lexington natives who graduated from Lexington High School in in the same class in 1998. The couple married in 2006 and moved to Eaton, Colo., where they lived for 12 years. The couple has two children, Terrence, age seven and Freya, age three.

The couple moved back to Nebraska to be closer to family. Michael’s parents have been instrumental in getting the place up and running. They helped make the table and counter tops out of recycled wood and bricks.

Michael said he decided on the name of the business after researching the local history of the Tri-County Canal system and how the different lakes in the area were referred to as the “canyon lakes.”

Canyon Lakes Brewing Company is located at 74896 Johnson Lake Drive 25A, Johnson Lake.

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