Beyond a Reasonable Stout

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third Book in the Sloan Krouse Mystery series by Elle Alexander.  I have not read the previous 3 but was able to follow along.  I’m not a big Kraft beer drinker but I did enjoy this story.

It’s the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm—momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They’re experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.

Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and lowkey atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city council member Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth’s economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn’t the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth’s self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces.

There was 2 mysteries in this story, the main one was the murder of obnoxious wannabe councilman Kristopher Cooper.  There were plenty of suspects as he seemed to of blackmailed almost everyone .  Then there was the mystery behind Sloan’s biological parents , ( obviously this was mentioned in prior books) .   I recommend that you read from the beginning as I feel Sloanes adoption plays a strong role throughout the series.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher and NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
My rating: 1 of 5 stars, I didn't care for it.

Book 3 in the series.

When I realized this was the 3rd book in the series, I quickly got the first two from my library. I wasn't super enthused about this series once I started reading. I think that can easily be traced to the fact that I don't like beer at all. So despite living in an area very well known for its microbreweries, I just don't know much (or care to know much) about making beer. There's A LOT of detail about the craft, and it was just too much for me.
Was this review helpful?
This one was ok. I'm not a beer drinker so a lot of the setting and beer talk wasn't of interest to me but I enjoyed the mystery anyway. This is an author that I've been hit or miss with in the past so this was a fun series to begin but don't think it's one I'll be continuing.
Was this review helpful?
Craft beer brewer Sloan Krause is embracing her new life with fervor. While she was disappointed in the dissolution of her marriage, and her having to give up her work at her ex-husband’s family’s brewery, she has discovered a new place to hone her craft. Microbrewery Nitro offers her a chance to work on small batches with owner Garret Strong and to experiment in their small kitchen with small bites and snacks for those who come to drink in their bar. 

Their location in Leavenworth, Washington is perfect for a small brewery like Nitro. And Sloan knows enough about flavors to be able to pair them with snacks. So their Christmas small batch of hoppy holiday pine, for example, can be paired with her shortbread cookies with just a touch of pine needle in them, making everyone happy. 

But the upcoming election has everyone on edge. Local politician Kristopher Cooper is talking about bringing back Prohibition, effectively shutting down Leavenworth’s craft beer business. And since the city is based on a Bavarian theme, with lots of small breweries and a huge Oktoberfest celebration, the local merchants are not happy with Cooper. They are throwing their support behind his competitor, but that’s not enough for someone, as Cooper ends up murdered. 

The main suspect is realtor April Ablin, one of Leavenworth’s biggest supporters. She’s not above dressing up in a Bavarian costume and showing up at events to be a cheerleader for the city and its citizens. But when Cooper ends up dead in her office, killed by the giant scissors she uses to open up new businesses, April is taken in by the Chief of Police. But she has a secret weapon. Sloan Krause is her new best friend. Or, she’s decided to make Sloan her new best friend and to investigate who might have really killed Cooper. Sloan, against her better judgment, decides to help April, if for no other reason than to get her off her back. 

But when Sloan starts asking the right questions to the wrong people, will she be able to get back to her kitchen and brewery at Nitro, or will someone vote her out, permanently? 

Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third in the Sloan Krouse series that started with Death on Tap. I am a big fan of this series. I love the idyllic town of Leavenworth, I love the small batch brewery feel, I love the recipe ideas with local ingredients that match up with the brews, and I love these characters. There is a lot of brew-speak in here, so if you’re interested in craft brewing (or even home brewing), then you’ll get a kick out of learning more about brewing and flavors. If you’re not interested, you can skim those and spend your time with the small town warmth and the puzzle solving of the mystery, because that is here in spades as well. I strongly recommend this one for fans of cozies with strong women doing interesting work! 

Galleys for Beyond a Reasonable Stout were provided by Minotaur Books and St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley, with many thanks.
Was this review helpful?
I give Beyond a Reasonable Stout 4.5/5 stars.

The town of Leavenworth is buckling down to enjoy the relative peace after Oktoberfest and before the Christmas crowds come trampling through. Sloan and Garret think they’re going to have a nice quiet time to do some refurbishments and plan their Christmas offerings, but a murder get in the way. 

The main mystery to solve is the murder of the really obnoxious wannabe councilman Kristopher Cooper. The suspects are not in short supply as there seems to be no one Cooper hasn’t blackmailed, bribed, insulted or tried to hurt. Lots of clues pop up as suspect after suspect points the finger at someone else. We get a few red herrings tossed our way and several theories to ponder. The big reveal, set amidst an early winter storm, is just the right way to cap off the tale. 

The bigger series mystery behind Sloan’s biological parents heats up big time in this one. Every book so far we’ve gotten tidbits about the possibility of something sinister behind her adoption and this one is no different. However, is it possible that sweet Ursula has something to do with it too? I guess we’ll have to keep reading to find out more. 

In terms of character development, we see Sloan trying to learn how to maintain her famous cool in the face of drastic changes. Her ability to stay calm and level-headed, however, earns her the respect of fellow community members and the ear of the chief of police. 

Sloan and Mac are learning how to navigate each other in their new reality. They’re determined to find a peaceful way to coexist for the sake of their son, Alex, and the rest of the Krause clan who simply adore Sloan. 

Kat is a delightful, fun addition to the Nitro family and acts almost like a daughter for Sloan. Kat’s presence also gives Sloan and Garret a new student to tutor in ways of microbrewing, which gives us readers an opportunity to learn even more about the industry, techniques and trends. With all the descriptions of Sloan’s beer-inspired cooking and the intriguing beer flavors, I really wished I could grab an actual taste out of the book! 

Overall, this was another really entertaining installment in the series and I can’t wait for the next one to find out what the future holds for Sloan and Garret and Sloan’s search into her past.
Was this review helpful?
Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught!
Was this review helpful?
Sloan is up against murder again. This time, the victim is a man who was trying to make their town dry. Considering the fact that most of the town makes money off the tourism based around the local breweries. If the town went dry, there would be no money coming in. It's just too bad the man is found in April Amblin's office. The "official ambassador " to Leavenworth may have been annoyed by Kristopher but that doesn't mean she killed the man.
In the course of trying to (some what ambivalently) April's name, Sloan runs up against a number of people who were indebted to Kristopher who seemed to be tricking townspeople into borrowing money from him and then trying to swindle them out of their business.
A nice addition to the series but it took me a little bit to get into it. Definitely worth a read if you like the rest of the series.

Three stars
This book came out October 1st
ARC kindly provided by St. Martin's Press and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
Was this review helpful?
Very well written. The plot was very clever in that you would guess the culprit but the author has you guessing until the very end.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander is the latest in the Sloan Krause series I have fallen in love with. 
A city councilman is running for re-election with a platform that would make the village of Leavenworth, Washington dry. That would literally close the majority of the breweries. When he is found stabbed following a town hall it appears that Leavenworth's cheerleader, April Ablin, is guilty, or is she? 
Alexander gives plenty of suspects and great all around characters. In addition to the murder, there is a second on going mystery about Sloan's childhood. You will not want to put this book down. In fact, I want to go the Leavenworth and visit Nitro and I'm not a beer/ale drinker but the descriptions  of the drinks will lure you in.
I was given an ARC by NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
First let me start by saying, I have not read the other books in this series and you don’t have to either (but you should). There are some spoilers that will be touched at but not nearly as much as I was expecting and the author did a great job at making them vague so its not really a spoiler… Like, you know Sloan solved a murder before but you don’t get told how or who done it. You should read them because if this book is any indication, the others are going to be great and they are defiantly on my radar!

Okay so there are really two mysteries running throughout the book: the murder that occurred in town and the secrets of her past. Personally, I was more interested in the secrecy of her past and parents and that is what is fueling me to till we get the next book (I can’t wait!). The characters were also really enjoyable and I really liked the depiction of the little German-like town (it actually is a real place!) I am a novice when it comes to beers and breweries but I think the author does an amazing job of explaining things to get her ideas across and I am actually more interested in the process and doing tastings now (I never would have thought that I would wanna try beer out).

Now into why I docked a star: It wrapped up too fast and I’m not sure I can say SHE solved the murder…(Spoiler?) Did she really solve the mystery? Like, really? Not to me. She had speculations but like, she still suspected at least half a dozen people… and she was just there when they were caught… she didn’t really do anything. I don’t know, if you have read this book please share your thoughts because I was just kinds under whelmed with the main mystery conclusion.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond a Reasonable Stout is another page turning read in the Sloan Krause mystery series! This is probably a favorite series of mine because it's unique and a tiny bit heavier than other cozies out there. Plus, the mysteries and the way the author leaves us a trail of breadcrumbs to solve the mystery along with Sloan is amazing! I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fun mystery. At first, the information about beer making seemed a little too much, but once I got into the book, it became really interesting and it fit into the story much better. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander welcomes us to Leavenworth, Washington.  Sloan Krause is enjoying the quiet of the town now that Oktoberfest has ended, but it is to be short lived.  City Councilman, Kristopher Cooper is running for re-election with a platform of turning Leavenworth into a dry town which would lead to a town without tourists.  The next day, Sloan enters April Ablin’s office to find Kristopher dead on the floor and April being arrested by Chief Meyers.  While Sloan is a not a fan of the town’s self-appointed ambassador, she knows that April needs her help.  Beyond a Reasonable Stout can be read alone for those new to A Sloan Krause Mystery series.  The story has Ellie Alexander’s casual writing style which makes the story easy to read.  Sloan is preparing for the next stage of her life now that she is divorcing Mac.  She has her job at Nitro with Garrett Strong where she gets a voice in creating new brews and now, she needs to decide where to live.  Sloan and Garrett are experimenting with new holiday brews and training Kat on their stock so she can handle barkeep duties.  The town is in an uproar over Kristopher Cooper and his plan to turn Leavenworth into a dry town.  Without the beer, the town will lose its tourists which doesn’t seem to faze Kristopher.  It is no surprise when Kristopher ends up murdered.  However, Sloan is shocked when April Ablin is arrested for the crime.  She knows that April did commit the crime and, reluctantly, Sloan sets out to prove it.  Readers will have no problem solving this whodunit long before the reveal.  I kept hoping for a twist because I thought the solution too simple.  There are multiple suspects since Kristopher managed to antagonize the majority of the town’s residents.  The mystery is nicely wrapped up at the end of the book.  The secondary mystery of Sloan’s birth parents began in Death on Tap and is still playing out.  Sloan is determined to find answers and she may have gotten her best clue yet.  I enjoy the descriptions of Leavenworth with its Bavarian style architecture, shops and food.  It reminds me of where I grew up (German Village in Columbus, Ohio).  A Sloan Krause Mystery series is a character focused series.  The characters and their lives are the main focus of the story.  They chat, eat and drink plenty of beer.  If you enjoy Ellie Alexander’s A Bakeshop Mystery series, you will like reading A Sloane Krause Mystery series (switch out pastry for beer).  Beyond a Reasonable Stout is a lighthearted cozy mystery with petty politics, brewing beer, wrestling with wallpaper, barkeep basics, nutty nutcrackers, and an aggrieved April.
Was this review helpful?
I am overwhelmed by the amount of microbrewery information that just flows from this story. I have always been a fan of craft beer and love a venue that offers local brew and great snacks. I would have REALLY liked it if there were a couple of recipes in the back of the book but cannot rave enough about the character development or plot line. This was my first Ellie Alexander book and I really like Sloan. You don't need to know the back story to be able to appreciate this most recent novel and it is a cliff hanger to be sure! Not that I wouldn't have wanted to read about Mac's attempts to win Sloan back or what new information her former social worker Sally has as to Sloan's MIA parents. As for this current installment, plenty of people were not sad that the Councilman met his end but only one of them was truly guilty. Chances are the Sloan would not have even gotten involved if not for the Chief insisting that self appointed town Ambassador April was in need of a friend. Or rather a frenemy, which what Sloan considered herself. With winter batches to make, a teenager to mother, an impending divorce to figure out, and the need for a new homestead, Sloan is a busy bar keep.
Was this review helpful?
"Beyond a Reasonable Stout" brings us to the German-inspired town on Leavenworth, WA, known for its many famous celebrations, including Oktoberfest, that has made the town famous among tourists and party-goers.  However, just after the town's recent Oktoberfest celebration, as they are getting ready for the upcoming Twinkling Lights celebration, and just prior to the town's political elections, one of the candidates, Kristopher Cooper, is found murdered.  Kristopher, one of the city's current councilmen who is up for re-election, has decided to base his platform on making Leavenworth an alcohol-free town, leaving many in the town's tourist industry upset with him, predicting the financial downfall of their businesses if he is elected and his campaign platform comes to fruitition.  Sloan Krause, one of the brewers at the craft brewery Nitro, becomes involved in the search for who killed Kristopher, and the list of possibilities includes many in their small town, at the request of the town's self-proclaimed ambassador April Ablin, in whose office Kristopher was found dead, killed with her ribbon-cutting ceremony scissors.  

"Beyond a Reasonable Stout" is the third book in the Sloan Krause mystery series, though it reads perfectly well as a stand-alone book.  It was a quick, light read, and gives an interesting look into some of what it takes to make craft beer.  Looking forward to reading the first two books in the series and any that follow!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I  received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Finally! I've been waiting for the third book in this series for a year! I honestly love this series (and author) and can't wait for it to continue. This book definitely will get you into the Oktoberfest spirit!
Was this review helpful?
Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third book in the Sloan Krause cozy mystery series by Ellie Alexander. Released 1st Oct 2019 by Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 284 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This series has been a fun and diverting read. There is a lot of beer and brewing information woven into the narrative and the ensemble cast of returning characters are mostly appealingly quirky and fun (except for April, her I want to smack). The small town politics and interactions provide a lot of color and atmosphere.

The mystery part of the story was a lot more linear and straightforward than the other books in the series. The denouement felt a little rushed to me and almost tacked on. There's also a multi-story plot arc concerning Sloan's biological parents and her background in the foster care system which had a different, more serious vibe and didn't mesh with the story as well for me. Despite those two details, the story as a whole is a fun and informative read.

The language is clean, the murder is off-scene, there's no sexual content, and this is a mostly light cozy in a consistently well written series. There is enough back story interwoven into this one, that it does work fine as a standalone. I have enjoyed the rest of the series, so it is probably worth picking up the earlier books.

Four stars.
Was this review helpful?
Cascade Mountains Nano-Brewery Based Cozy Mystery
This story is equal parts women's fiction and cozy mystery. The author did a great job on both aspects. The women's fiction is an ongoing storyline. The cozy mystery is completed in each book. It makes me want to come back for more while sipping a pint. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I’m not a beer drinker, but my husband and our friends are, so I hear a lot of beer talk. Fall is his favorite time of year for beer, and I think that was part of the reason I was attracted to Beyond a Reasonable Stout. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the brewing process; it’s interesting and while I realized a lot had to go into it, I’ve never really read anything about the process. Oktoberfest is over and Sloan and Garrett are starting to work on their winter beers. Leavenworth is a town whose livelihood is the tourist industry and that centers around their craft breweries and their Bavarian-style town. It actually sounds like it would be a fun place to visit.

And then Kristopher Cooper gets killed. Granted, just about everyone in town was angry at the anti-alcohol platform he was running on for re-election to city council, but who took it all the way to murder? The annoying local real estate agent is arrested for the crime, but even the police chief doesn’t seem to think she’s guilty. Now, this is the first Sloan Krause mystery I’ve read, but Sloane and Garrett must have helped the Chief solve a previous murder because she encourages Sloan to listen and pay attention and maybe do a little digging. It’s nice when the amateur sleuth and the cops get along, even if that’s not how it would work in real life.

Sloan is dedicated to her son, her job and her town. She makes a good sleuth and I liked that as she did her detecting we met several of the townsfolk. They’re a quirky bunch, but I guess what can you expect from people who live and work in such a kitschy town. The whodunnit was a little obvious, but it was still enjoyable.

The one detraction for me is what I guess is a continuing arc revolving around the mystery of who Sloan’s parents were. I could have done without that bit and I didn’t like that it strained her relationship with her (soon to be ex-) in-laws. Just give me a good sleuth, a decent mystery, solid secondary characters and a good setting. I’d really rather skip the mysterious past.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third book in Ellie Alexander’s Sloan Krause mystery series. It is fall and the city council election is fast approaching.  City council member Kristopher Cooper is running for re-election but he has a brand new platform. He is pledging to outlaw alcohol and curb the many festivals that the merchants of the small town depend upon. In a town that is home to not only a major west coast German brewery but also many craft breweries, this platform making it a dry county would be a death knell for their businesses.

Sloan Krause, who is a brewer at Nitro craft brewery and relation to the Krauses of the major Der Keller brewery, is actively supporting Kristopher’s opponent Valerie Hedy, as are most of the merchants and townsfolk.  Kristopher has rubbed many the wrong way and the night of Valerie’s big rally at Der Keller he is seen arguing with several people at the brew house and on the streets after the rally.  In fact, no one seems terribly upset when he is found murdered the following morning except for realtor April Ablin. It is in her realty office where his body is found and the circumstantial evidence points toward her.

Secrets are divulged. Relationships are formed and broken. In the midst of a freak snowstorm a murderer is discovered. In a very interesting series set in the northern Cascade range an eclectic group of people form the cast for the enjoyable stories.  I did enjoy this book and I do recommend it.
Was this review helpful?