Discussion Guide: The Lager Queen of Minnesota

1. At the center of the story is a family divided over an unfairly split inheritance. How do you feel about how each sister reacted to their father’s decision? Did this situation evoke memories of lopsided inheritances or contested wills in your own family?

2. Helen instantly loves beer on her first taste and soon comes to the conclusion that she wants to be a brewer. How would you characterize her ambition? Does her relationship with Orval feel honest or calculated?

3. When we first meet Diana, she is stealing tools from garages and selling them on the internet to make money. In spite of this, how does she become a sympathetic character? What actions does she make that reveal her kindness and generosity?

4. Edith likes to think of herself as a simple person—or does she? In what ways is she actually quite complicated? How does she reveal herself to be as calculating or focused as Helen?

5. Edith is convinced that her life would have been different had she received her half of the family farm. How would it have it been different? Consequently, how would Diana’s life have been different?

6. What do you think of the “education” Frank Schabert gives Diana about brewing? Do you agree with his methods?

7. Each of the sisters experience the loss of a beloved husband. How are they different in how they express their grief? How are they similar?

8. The relationships within the book, as in life, necessarily evolve and adapt as time passes. How do you feel about Diana and Clarissa’s friendship, and the reasons they grew apart? 

9. If there was one more chapter after the final scene, what do you imagine might happen?

10. Who do you feel is the “lager queen of Minnesota,” if anyone?