The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer.Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can't help wondering what her life would have been like with even a po...

Details The Lager Queen of Minnesota

TitleThe Lager Queen of Minnesota
Release DateJul 23rd, 2019
PublisherPamela Dorman Books
GenreFiction, Food and Drink, Food, Contemporary, Audiobook

Reviews The Lager Queen of Minnesota

  • Meredith
    4.5 stars Women Who EndureA heartfelt and inspiring family drama about three exceptionally strong midwestern women who are brought together by creating beer. Edith, married to Stanley for 40 years, has worked non-stop in a nursing home and never complains about life’s hardships. When Stanley is forced to retire, Edith’s pie baking skills bring her local fame and a new job. She experiences great tragedy and loss, but Edith keeps going and neve...
    This is a lovely book told in alternating chapters about two sisters who have not spoken to each other for many decades. The issue at hand was the fact that the younger sister Helen convinced their father to leave all his inheritance to her alone. You see, Helen was bound and determined with a fiery passion to produce beer at a brewery of her very own, and had a business plan. As the book begins we find the older sister Edith working in a local n...
  • JanB
    4.5 starsI’m a Midwesterner, and I know these women intimately. They are my grandmothers, my mother, and my aunts. Women who had their share of heartache and troubles but rose above their setbacks and carried on without complaint. They have all since passed away, but they were the embodiment of stoicism and grit. They didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves or bemoaning their fate. And neither did the women in this book.Adversity can b...
  • Jen
    A heartwarming, curl up in a blanket kind of read. Three strong woman, 2 Estranged sisters and a granddaughter, who successfully beat the odds and become successful in their own beer brewing ways. This was actually such a comfy, cozy read and I’ve never learned so much about beer before. Fascinating stuff. Cheers 🍻 An easy 4.5⭐ A heartwarming, curl up in a blanket kind of read. Three strong woman, 2 Estranged sisters and a granddaughter,...
  • Melissa
    “People can change what they do, but not what they love.” With any beer—whether a pale ale with bright citrus notes, a dank IPA, a chocolatey stout, or my personal favorite, a tart sour—palatability comes down to taste, personal preference and often exposure. What excites the palate of one patron, might not seem as bold to the next. The same can be said about readers and books. Equating The Lager Queen of Minnesota to a pint, I would say ...
  • Marialyce
    “When you see a man falling off a ladder above you, Edith believed, you don't envision your arms breaking. You just hold them out.” Traveling to the Midwest in the book The Lager Queen of Minnesota, we are introduced to three women, Edith and Helen, who are sisters and have not spoken in years, and Edith's granddaughter Diana. Pictured so well here is small town life with plenty of nods to the making of beer and the love one has for the state...
  • Melki
    I'm not sure if this was just a case of the right book at the right time, but I absolutely loved this tale that followed two sisters over the decades. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to brew my own fruit-infused IPA. It is with some trepidation that I add the book to my husband's wobbly to-read stack. I know he's going to love it, but I hope it doesn't make him want to try his hand at making beer again. I'm fine with some sedime...
  • Victoria
    A generational story with so much heart, a good deal of droll humor and a pleasure to read! That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of heartbreak and misfortune, but it’s the resilience and determination of these characters that stole my heart. This is a family saga that authentically captures Midwestern women, but also happens to have a little bit of history about the craft beer industry and beer making. Don’t think you’d be interested? Ne...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    I could read a hundred J. Ryan Stradal books about Midwestern women. I really enjoyed Stradal's debut, KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST. In his second novel he tells a tighter story, focusing on three women in one family whose paths take them to work in breweries. Helen and Edith are estranged sisters who haven't spoken since one of them managed to get the entire proceeds from the sale of the family farm while the other got nothing. The story jumps ...
  • Betsy
    Everything a girl could ask forWhat’s that you say, beer? And pie? Well, J. Ryan Stradal, you certainly got my attention.When the individual stories of sisters Edith and Helen, along with Edith’s granddaughter Diana, are woven together, all of the women are just so darn likable. Edith is an insanely cute grandma, Helen is a sensible but thoughtful businesswoman, and Diana could be plucked right out of a Horatio Alger book...well, if he didn...
  • Jayme
    Did I enjoy this novel of family, Midwestern values, and the secrets of making world-class beer? You Betcha! 🍻And, no-you don't have to be a beer drinker to enjoy this book. This is really a story about two sisters, Helen and Edith, who become estranged over a family inheritance, and Edith's granddaughter, Diana.Helen has always been obsessed with wanting to make beer. She will put this desire ahead of everyone and everything-no matter what th...
  • Carolyn
    This entertaining novel follows the lives and fortunes of three strong, gutsy mid-western women over a period of five decades. It all starts with two sisters, Edith and Helen and a misunderstanding that put a rift in their relationship and shaped their lives. Older sister Edith follows a traditional route for a woman of that time, marrying a good man and starting a family. Younger sister Helen who has been entranced by the taste of beer since her...
  • Lisa
    A Delightfully Funny Tale of Family, Pie and Beer.SUMMARYEdith Magnuson‘s pies are deliciously famous. Still she lays awake wondering how her life might’ve been different if her father had not solely left their family farm to her sister Helen, a decision that split their family in two. With the proceeds from the sell of their family’s farm Helen Blotz, built her husband Orval‘s families soda business into the top-selling brewery in Minnes...
  • Ang
    I wish this was a better review, because I adored Stradal's first book, Kitchens of the Great Midwest. (I still recommend it to readers at the library. I REALLY loved it.)This book is just...a mess. There is a real kernel of greatness here, and I know that because I absolutely HAD to know how this story worked itself out. But the getting there was...messy. Really messy. I don't know how you fix this, but here were some of my issues with it:-the t...
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    J. Ryan Stradal won my heart with the novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest by weaving together a story of family, tragedy, strength, and food.In his upcoming release The Lager Queen of Minnesota, readers once again journey to the midwest and this time we follow the lives of three women determined to succeed, though their definitions of success are wildly different based on their values.Sisters Edith and Helen haven't spoken in years.  Their fathe...
  • Tess Malone
    J. Ryan Stradal has become one of the most empathetic writers of strong Midwestern women. Like if Willa Cather’s protagonists drank beer or Jane Smiley’s has a sense of humor, Stradal captures the pragmatism, modesty, and honesty of Minnesotan women without mocking them like the Coen Brothers. The three women brewers in his second novel are stalwart, stubborn, but ultimately tender, and Stradal weaves their narrative into a moving page-turner...
  • Melinda
    When this book appeared on Netgalley I just about lost my mind with excitement, since I have spent the past several years worshipping at the altar of Kitchens of the Great Midwest. This one is a worthy followup, albeit lacking (for me) just a bit of the warmth and magic of Kitchens. I still really loved it, though. And it made me super thirsty.
  • Kaytee Cobb
    Warning: sentimental hogwash ahead. I Loved this book. It completely wrapped up my love of Minnesota, my grandma and aunts and mama, my love of beer, my thirst for knowledge. It's everything I wanted it to be an then some. So so so great.
  • DeAnn
    4 rhubarb pie stars to this oneThis book was a fun surprise – strong Midwestern women and a lot of beer. There are betrayals, drama, love, and tragedy all mixed in here. There’s some education on how much goes into brewing beer and a hearty dose of delicious pie.At the heart of the book, we have two sisters – Helen and Edith. We learn much more about Edith, the older sister who must work hard for whatever she has in life. She’s always put...
  • Barbara
    After reading the NPR interview with author J. Ryan Stradal, I’m even more touched by his current novel “The Lager Queen of Minnesota”. Stradal revealed that the character of Edith is a complex combination of his mom and grandmothers. Edith’s character is one of the most hardworking, thoughtful, kind, and forgiving characters written in modern literature. She does reflect the women of the Midwest (I’m a South Dakota girl myself). Strada...
  • Jessica Jeffers
    Better than a 3 but maybe a little too schmaltzy to be a 4.
  • Janet
    Wow, I have a new favorite author. Most male authors can’t write characters if their lives depended on it but J. Ryan Stradal is an obvious exception. Now I have to read his debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which I skipped because I didn’t like the title…stupid reason I know.I don’t drink beer but this novel made me want to start. I don’t know an IPA from a lager from a stout from a pale ale from a gose but Stradal made me wa...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    I really love the way this guy writes. His characters seem to forge their own paths, and it's hard at times to realize they are creations and not actual people. There is so much to learn about beer culture, and how these three main characters, all women, ride its golden wave through good times and bad, cheap brew and craft IPAs.
  • Kate ☀️ Olson
    (free review copy) I adore books set in my home state of WI and since this one is SO close - right across the river in western MN - and references so many WI locations, it’s an honorary member of the club. I really enjoyed this story, not *quite* as much as Kitchens, though, and I wanted just a little bit more from it. More on Helen, more at the end. Overall, it was a satisfying and heartwarming tale of the northern Midwest and I want to buy a ...
  • Vicki
    Something about this feels off, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because one sister gets less face time in the book, maybe it’s because some huge life events wind up getting one sentence as more of a summary to move on to the next thing — I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a fine enough read. Another reviewer used the term one-dimensional, and I think that's probably the issue. The characters feel fairly flat. So I guess I would say ...
  • Dianne
    The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan StradalIf you love the rambling family-centric style of Fannie Flagg with an added dose of learning about IPA's, then you are sure to love this book.This may not have been a heart-warming tale of love between sister's that we are used to, but I found it to be about genuine lives.This book teaches you that even if more than 50 years pass, love between sisters cannot die. I know that is not always true, but t...
  • Rebecca
    (2.75) I had sky-high hopes for Stradal’s follow-up after Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Theoretically, a novel about three pie-baking, beer-making female members of a Minnesota family should have been terrific. Again, this is female-centered, on a foodie theme, set in the Midwest and structured as linked short stories. Here the chapters are all titled after amounts of money; they skip around in time between the 1950s and the present day and be...
  • Sharon Huether
    Two sisters separated for 51 years.Edith had a road to travel. She had worked two jobs after her husband died and her daughter and son-in-law were killed in an auto accident, leaving a grand daughter to raise.Helen had married well to a Blotz and turned the old brewery into a money making enterprise. After many years of marriage her husband died too.Although Edith's Granddaughter scored 100% on a SAT test, she didn't want to go to collage. She ha...
  • Laila (BigReadingLife)
    I’d give it more stars if they’d let me.
  • Andrienne
    A feel-good story about two stubborn yet courageous sisters in a small town in Minnesota who become estranged when they pursue different goals in life. Edith marries and raises a family while Helen, the younger of the two goes off to college to explore her love of making beer. The book spans many years and both characters experience hardship and good favor along the way. Filled with endearing characters and an engaging writing style, this story i...