The Lager Queen of Minnesota

Pamela Dorman: Viking. Jul. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9780399563058. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399563072. F
Sisters Helen and Edith are polar opposites, and owing to a dispute over an inheritance have been estranged for decades. Good girl Edith marries young and supplements her husband’s truck-driving income by baking at a nursing home, where her delicious pies make her briefly famous. Rebellious Helen develops a taste for beer early and marries college classmate Orval Blotz, partly because he’s heir to a brewery fortune. Together, they revive the Blotz beer brand as a successful cheap American lager. Two generations later, Edith’s granddaughter Diana survives a troubled adolescence by learning the craft beer trade, eventually opening her own brewery. Stradal covers a lot of ground, which sometimes makes the prose feel like plot summary. He does best when focusing on Diana’s journey and the ins and outs of the beer trade. Without ever using the word, the book is decidedly feminist and offers pointed commentary about class differences and income inequality without feeling preachy.
VERDICT Stradal’s follow up to Kitchens of the Great Midwest wins you over with its good-heartedness, despite its flirtation with cloying folksiness at times. For regional collections and where beer is popular. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month