Mother Daughter Book Club Review // The Lager Queen of Minnesota

A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer.

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.

My mom and I have been off and on with reading books together throughout the years. We are usually in other people's book club but this time it's just the two of us. The goal for me is to read fantastic books while still pushing my mom's boundaries when it comes to reading. I definitely have done that through the years so she just isn't a Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel reader anymore. But let's push her a little farther shall we? I chose the first book for our book club - The Lager Queen of Minnesota.

Everyone knows by now that I love books with food as a central theme. The Lager Queen of Minnesota doesn't feature food but a drink - beer. But, it still comes up on all those lists of food fiction you must read so I'm counting it. It's funny. I don't like any alcohol and don't plan on trying to like it but I was fascinated by the process of making it. The story goes into the technical side of making a beer but it doesn't take away from the main story. That is the story of generations of women and how they struggle and grow. This focuses on two sisters who have a falling out after one is given all the money of her parents' inheritance and the other is left with nothing.

The ambitious Helen found her passion to make beer young. She had to make it and she knew that her sister would squander the money given to them after her father passed away so she convinced him to give it all to her. Helen is the worst. Her chapters (the chapters have three POV's rotating after one another) were highly interesting for sure. She just was an unlikeable character and the author did a great job in making her out to be a very selfish person. He also made her chapters equally interesting to read.

Then there is Edith, the older sister who got none of the money. She is as hardworking as Helen but is humble, gracious, and kind too. She loves making pies and doesn't want anything to do with beer. Edith is one hundred times better than her sister. She struggles so much in her life but she just keeps going. I read in an interview with the author that he based her on her mother and grandmothers. That he didn't like that books with midwestern women were characterized the way they were. They were complex people and based on Edith, I'm sure hardworking and humble too. 

There were also chapters with another POV with Diana being the central character. She is the granddaughter of Edith. And oh boy does she make mistakes. But with all her flaws, she still has the kind heart of her grandmother. She has that hardworking nature too and I just adored her.

I knew The Lager Queen of Minnesota was highly rated but even then I didn't expect it to like it this much. It spans over many years so you get to see these women struggle and grow throughout most of their lives. The family dynamics, how everything connected with one another, and me getting fascinated by the process of making beer made this such a worthwhile read. Highly recommended!

What has been your favorite foodie fiction read?


  1. I definitely think this counts as a foodie book! I love that you and your mom have your own little club!

    1. Well the internet says it so I'm counting it! Yes, it's making my reading a lot more fun.


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