The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: astrangement, death, grief

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars


I absolutely adored The Lager Queen of Minnesota. Reminiscent of Fredrik Backman and BillieLetts, Stradal introduces the hardworking, fair minded, unselfish, simple Edith Magnussen, and the life that lead her to becoming the Lager Queen.

Told from the TLQoM characters of in alternating third person point of views, Edith and her sister Helen go their separate ways shortly before and after college.

Edith marries Stanley, the love of her life, and works long hours at a nursing home to help supplement his truck driving wages. She gains some notoriety for baking Minnesota’s best pies, and this sets off a series of events that would change Edith’s world.

Helen decides all she ever wanted in life was to make the best beer, and sets out for college planning to become on of the best brewmasters out there- no matter the fact that she’s a female in the 1970s. Pairing off with Orval, son of Blotz Cream Soda creator, the two boom in the brewery industry with Blotz Special Light.

From here, Stradal pulls the reader into a seemingly simplistic novel about Midwestern family values only to reveal a series of complex characters and situations. The reader is left to wonder, will the sisters ever unite? All the while, Stradal charms with these characters, traditional family themes, and a steady plot that keeps the reader engaged. His unique formatting keeps the multiple points of view from becoming entangled, and allows the plot line to flow without cutting itself off for shock effect. Emotionally, I was so invested in Edith that I had a hard time leaving her chapters, but was so satisfied with the conclusion that it made it easy enough for me to let go of her story. (I know- a 5 star read without emotional damage?! HURRAY!)

I’ll be recommending The Lager Queen of Minnesota to any- and every- one.

Published: July 23, 2019

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

TL/DR: The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal is about two sisters who go their separate way, and yet both find themselves in the brewing industry.

Read it? YES!

Recommend it? Absolutely. I think many ages will enjoy this read, so I’ll be recommending it to anyone!

Buy it? I certainly would love my own copy, so I say yes!

Categories: Book Review

1 reply

  1. Nice review Amanda! You loved it more than I did.

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