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The Lager Queen of Minnesota

A Novel
Narrated by: Judith Ivey
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.01

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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

“[The Lager Queen of Minnesota has] complex female characters, sudden tragedies, culinary descriptions that awaken all your senses.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Delightful.” (New York Post)

“Utterly charming... Stradal loves and knows his territory, and his affection for the Midwest - with all its stubbornness, stoicism, long memories, readiness to provide aid and quiet pride in excellence - gleams on every page.” (Janet Fitch, best-selling author of The Revolution of Marina M.

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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  • KayMac
  • 02-09-2019

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Meredith
  • 31-01-2020

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-09-2019

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-01-2020

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!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tami P
  • 01-09-2019

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Robin
  • 07-09-2019

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patti Salmon
  • 21-10-2020

Not what I expected

The story line is decent, but the narration drove me crazy. The scratchy squeeky old people voices made me want to tear my hair out. I am still listening to it, determined to finish it no matter what but my vote is to skip this one. Narration makes the book and if its poor, I find and will rate the book a flop

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  • Gabrielle L. Futch
  • 12-10-2020

A breath of fresh air

After quite a few basic books lately I really needed this. Characters were beautiful and story elegantly told. I’m glad I didn’t know much about it because I was pleasantly surprised.

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  • Any Time Now, Jesus
  • 06-10-2020

Salt of the Earth Folks

This is a story of extraordinary working-class women: raw strength, sustained courage, lifelong hardships, unflagging loyalty, the good old American work ethic, moral clarity, rock-solid neighborliness and citizenship, and no complainers in the lot of them. Heroes. Great Americans. Dear Lord, I pray they are really out there; make me to be like them.

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  • DTB
  • 01-10-2020

Torture to try and listen to

I was hoping for something light and funny and actually had something to do with the brewing industry. I couldn’t make it through six chapters I tried it was pure torture. This book puts the B in boring.