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As the employee of a brewery, I was SO happy with the care taken in the accuracy of all things brewery. As a lover of a good story, this ticks that box as well. It took me through a range of emotions. Loved it!
This is a truly delightful novel. My book club loved it! The member who picked it brought along samples of beers for us to try and that added to our enjoyment.!
There is strong character portrayal int he book and a deep understanding of the culture and values of the Twin City area of Minnesota. We see the middle class values of hard work and stoic acceptance of the difficulties of life, but we also get the definite theme that the wealthy have no conception of what it is like to struggle for even the most basic necessities of modern life, like dependable transportation. We get some moral quandaries to make us ask ourselves how we would react to inability to provide for those you love.
At the same time, there is much humor in this book and a genuine affection for the toughness and spirit of old ladies! Clearly, it is wrong to pan this book because the plot strains credulity! That's not the point. Yes, there are some real problems explored in the book, but in the end, the solution to those problems seems pretty unlikely! That's not the point. This is not a book written to suggest solutions to pressing social problems. Rather, it is a partly humorous, partly serious book that was written to engage and entertain the reader! At that objective, it is highly successful!
To illustrate my point about realism, it is not realistic that a bunch of inexperienced old ladies could quickly learn to brew marketable beers! But to judge the book on this basis is unfair. The author is not attempting to write a realistic treatment of how beer is brewed. It is the relationships, work ethic, and quirky behaviors of the characters that make this a great read.
You will greatly enjoy this book. Having spent a lot of time in Minneapolis, where our youngest son is raising his family, we found a lot of very keen observations in the book. But, you don't have to have even set foot in Minnesota to enjoy this book. Don't miss this one!
Edith and Helen are sisters whose lives diverged in animosity. They lead very different lives (Edith faces tragedies and hardships but with a steadfast outlook; Helen ambitiously takes what she needs from people/situations with a “me” outlook).
This story centers around two generations of women in the brewing industry, their triumphs and struggles both personally and professionally.
I loved the heart and generosity shown to each character and the close attention to beer. J Ryan Stradal writes,”The right IPA is like a Miles Davis trumpet solo. Consistent yet surprising. Obeying and breaking the rules. A mixture of simple things.” The same can be said about The Lager Queen of Minnesota.” Bravo!
Kudos for J. Ryan Stadal for following up the wonderful "Kitchens of the great Midwest" with "The Lager Queen of Minnesota".
I picked this book up because of my appreciation for the earlier novel and for an intriguing title.
This is a novel that is a wonderful intertwining about a bit of modern American family life, communities and, of course, beer making. It all hangs together very nicely and is well plotted and well paced.
I think Mr. Stradal was very thoughtful in his portrayal of how difficult it is for some families and individuals to make it in America - even if they are "trying". I think that any one who has asked themselves about the social safety net should read this book - it is not preachy but an effective reminder of why we have certain social programs. I also find that Mr. Stradal writes particularly compelling, strong female characters (men are a bit of side show in this book).
At the end of the book I reconsidered the title and thought that each reader must themselves decided just WHO, the title lager queen of Minnesota is referring to.
I highly recommend this book for both its thoughtfulness and its entertainment value.
As a Minnesotan who has spent majority of my life in Duluth, this book is top notch. (Read it and you'll see why). Besides the great shout- outs and nods to some pretty sweet cities (and breweries) in MN and WI, the book itself is amazing.
I love how the writer tells the story of these impressive women. Although fictional, they are so relatable that I was imagining specific friends, family and acquaintances as I read.
My only complaint is that like 70% of the book is basically set up to crave beer! Not just any beer, but a craft, beer-snob beer! I'm not an IPA gal myself (unless balanced with a fruit) but even these descriptions had my mouth watering for something over 100 IBUs. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how these ladies (and fellas) brewed their craft and it made me appreciate the process without muddying the story.
I was worried "The Lager Queen of Minnesota" wouldn't be as good as his first book, "Kitchens of the Great Midwest." Both tell excellent tales of women in the midwest as they find their calling in life. I now understand my own mother as I mutter the phrase "I love you both equally"
Definitely read "The Lager Queen." But be(er) warned that it pairs well with a nice locally brewed craft beer.
I’m not sure how I found this book or how it found me, but however the universe brought us together, I’m glad.
Being a native Minnesotan and beer lover, the title and cover art caught my eye. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally decided to start this one out. Another review mentioned it being the “best read for a hot summer day”.
Do you ever read a book and immediately see yourself in almost every character? That’s how it was for me. I saw pieces of myself in Edith, Helen, Diana and even Frank. I laughed, I cried, I rooted on these characters who never gave up, no matter what.
I’ve spent the last 16 years away from Minnesota and this was a great cure for homesickness.
I’m not one to go into great detail over a book or it’s characters, I just simply know I devoured this book and fell in love with the Midwest all over again.
A fun, fun read. I knew many of the places the author wrote about, I just had to smile. The characters were real and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author gave strength and purpose to women in there 70’s. The power of women in creating new IPA’s and beers. Totally light and enjoyable.
As a Minnesotan and a beer enthusiast, this was SPOT ON. Not only did it talk a lot about beer, have some great local beer nods, but it had all the local references and quips that my midwestern heart could handle. To the expressions that were used TO THE VERY THOUGHT PROCESSES THAT WERE USED, I was like omg is that me? It was not challenging and was quite fun, and I will be keeping this one on my shelf for the years to come.
If you are NOT from the midwest... I mean, you'll like it... but you just won't GET it :) One could say those great references will say "ope just gonna sneak right past ya"