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Publisher's Summary

A National Best Seller! 

“The perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day.” (Washington Post)

“[A] charmer of a tale... Warm, witty and - like any good craft beer - complex, the saga delivers a subtly feminist and wholly life-affirming message.” (People)

A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer, from the best-selling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

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 portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself. 

With the proceeds from the farm, Helen builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country, and makes their company motto ubiquitous: "Drink lots. It's Blotz." Where Edith has a heart as big as Minnesota, Helen's is as rigid as a steel keg. Yet one day, Helen will find she needs some help herself, and she could find a potential savior close to home...if it's not too late. 

Meanwhile, Edith's granddaughter, Diana, grows up knowing that the real world requires a tougher constitution than her grandmother possesses. She earns a shot at learning the IPA business from the ground up - will that change their fortunes forever, and perhaps reunite her splintered family? 

Here we meet a cast of lovable, funny, quintessentially American characters eager to make their mark in a world that's often stacked against them. In this deeply affecting family saga, resolution can take generations, but when it finally comes, we're surprised, moved, and delighted. 

©2019 J. Ryan Stradal (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Stradal’s writing is sharp and funny while still managing to treat each character with warmth and respect...this is an ultimately hopeful and heartwarming story.... Readers will love watching these truly original characters overcome their challenges and take care of each other. An absolutely delightful read, perfect for a summer day with a good beer and a piece of pie.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

“This charmer of a tale is a loving ode to the Midwest, the power of persistence and, perhaps above all, beer.... Warm, witty and - like any good craft beer - complex, the saga delivers a subtly feminist and wholly life-affirming message.” (People Magazine)

"Delightfully intoxicating...will make you smile with its droll humor, and its poignant moments will stop you to reread and confirm that they are really that good. In beer-geek slang, Stradal’s novel is ‘crushable’ - easygoing, well-balanced, super-drinkable with tons of flavor...and will make you go back for more.” (USA Today)

The Lager Queen of Minnesota is pure reading joy: warm, funny, informative, and full of heart. It is impossible not to root for Stradal's characters, who are so vivid, and relatable that you will miss them every time you set the book down; indeed, if you set it down at all.” (Jonathan Evison, New York Times best-selling author of Lawn Boy)  

What listeners say about The Lager Queen of Minnesota

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best audiobook ever

This is not the sort of book I normally read or listen to. The title and description didn’t immediate captivate me the first few times I saw it. It just didn’t seem like a book I’d like.

I’ve never been that wrong about a book.

The audiobook version of The Lager Queen of Minnesota is the most entertaining and enjoyable book I’ve ever listened to.

Judith Ivey took a wonderful little story and made it both hilarious and heartbreaking. And hilarious again.

If you’re wavering, don’t.

At first it seemed cute and funny so I kept listening. Eventually, the pathos and depth of the story magnified until it broke my heart in the very best way.

I loved every second. Thank you to everyone who brought this into the world.

27 people found this helpful

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Midwest nostalgia,humor,culture

I am from the Midwest (not Minnesota, although I have plenty of family there) and, after 40 years in Virginia, felt like I had come home to listen to this book. Totally MUST listen to this - the reader has NAILED the Minnesota accent, and the whole world view is so spot on. I laughed out loud and my heart was warmed. GREAT book.

11 people found this helpful

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Ok book

The book is fine, a pleasant diversion, but the narrator is dreadful. Exaggerated accents, condescending old people voices. buy the actual book and skip the audiobook.

8 people found this helpful

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What a Gem!

This book was just what I needed while catering to the whims/whines of my sick family over Winter Break. The story is fantastic but I think it is the narrator's voice - Minnesota *spot on* - that really sells this funny read. I don't think this book would be as good in paper or kindle form as it is enjoyable a listen. I think for listeners/readers who've enjoyed Where'd you Go Bernadette, Big Little Lies and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you'll surely enjoy this. Cheers!

4 people found this helpful

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Missed opportunities made for a depressing story

I am a native Minnesotan. While I could relate to much and knew people like this, much of this story depressed me. The easy willingness to accept life's circumstances without striving for more, lack of fight, and almost insultingly simple way in which the characters were portrayed made this book hard to finish. I found myself waiting for more, for the story to take a more dramatic and exciting turn, but it just kept plugging along, with an "oh yah, don't'cha know" small town folksiness.I kept checking to see how much of the book was left, and then it ended abruptly.

Also, I like Judith Ivey as an actor, but I did not love her narration. The accents were overdone, and the "old lady" voices made the characters sound even more simple than they were written.

9 people found this helpful

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Boring and predictable

I kept waiting for something to happen but I was left disappointed throughout the entire book. I was bored with all the information about making beer. The voice of Edith and the other grandmas was scratchy and somewhat condescending toward older women.

3 people found this helpful

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I learned a lot about beer

I enjoyed listening to the story, although it was at times slow and you had to be careful what character was telling the story, so you can't fall asleep during the narration. The story was refreshing as it was not your usual, predictable love story - although there was definitely love between the beer and the brewer! I did miss a bit of the warm-fuzzy feeling I get when I read a book and could not identify with the character. I miss the feeling of saying good-bye to newly made friends, which this book was not able to give, but it did not diminish the rating given at the end. Narration was good, but sometimes one of the gritty accents just got on your nerves. Would give the book a B+.

2 people found this helpful

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An engaging read, set in Minn.

I’m a New Yorker, and it took me several chapters to take to the narrator. Once acclimated, though, I really enjoyed this book, and will give it another listen for sure.

2 people found this helpful

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Love it.

Just wonderful. Well written and perfectly performed. So glad I gave it a try. A rare treat.

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Touches my soul

This story held my interest the entire time. Growing up in a small WI town in a strong, hard working German-Polish family brought memories, feels, laughter, tears and a familiarity that touched my soul.

The humor entwined with the seriousness of hardship and misunderstanding made this entirely relatable. And, if you’re a beer snob, this book is for you!

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  • Hayley
  • 02-29-20

A joyous family drama.

I listened to this as an audiobook and after 20 minutes I thought “I’m not sure about this”. This was a case of the more I listened the more I enjoyed it. There was nothing complex about the story but it was very listenable. So much so that I listened to it in two sessions. It was a joyous and delightful feel good story.

A story about two sisters in the mid west of Minnesota with plenty of apple pies and craft beer, that had tinges of “Fried Green Tomatoes” about it. It is a story about families, independence, grief, feminism and forgiveness.