“A Minnesota family grounded in farming, beer, and award-winning pies is split for decades when one of two sisters inherits the farm. Helen and Edith — whose stories author J. Ryan Stradal effectively weaves together — stop speaking, while one’s fortunes soar and the other’s plummet. When a woman of the next generation has a chance at success, she may also reunite the Calder family. Stradal brings the heartland to the page with warmth, humor, and plenty of hops-inspired lore.”
— Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Summer 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List
“This is a tale of two sisters, a batch of undefeatable Midwestern women, and the modern evolution of American beer trends in the Midwest. America’s heartland looks a bit different from the perspectives of Edith, Helen, and Diana, each of whom struggles to both survive and realize her dreams in a world less than willing to give women a chance, let alone a beer. Lovely, powerful, and an excellent read!”
— Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA
A National Bestseller!
“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 Magazine A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer, from the bestselling 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.
About the Author
J. Ryan Stradal is the author of New York Times bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest and national bestseller The Lager Queen of Minnesota. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Granta, The Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, won the American Booksellers Association Indie's Choice Award for Adult Debut Book of the Year. His next novel, Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, is forthcoming. Born and raised in Minnesota, he now lives in California with his family.