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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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669 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 669
Hads: 1,306
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 862
Gots: 72 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-01-2003

American style India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed using Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Mt. Hood hops. A beer with crisp hop flavor and bitterness well balanced with American malt sweetness.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Masala Mama India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 669 | Hads: 1,306
Photo of Scoobydank
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Dark amber with a tint of orange mixed in. Thick off white head
S: a pungent pine need up front with slight floral hops. Sweet roasted malt as well
T:Very citrusy pine on the back. Big bisquity taste floats around as well. Reisiny hops.
M:small tin buddle that give it a sharp fizz
D: Good IPA, I thought it would be better though

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Photo of granger10
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1/2 gallon growler obtained from the monk and split with tikigodxxx

This beer has a clear auburn color that turns orangish, coppperish, then brown when held to light. Good sized light tan head that holds up for some time then reduces to a layer of lacing across the top and along the glass.

Aroma starts grapefruity but then turns to a strong fruity scent which is candyish. Notes of bubblegum are in there along with some more citrus. Very unique aroma, i didnt know what to think of it at first but the more I enhaled the more I liked.

There's a balance in this beer I wasn't expecting from an IPA. Taste begins with a caramel, sweet potato taste. Might be some toffee in there as well. Lots of fruity flavors come to after the initial malty sweetness. Fruits are citric and tropical. Candy corn comes in. Hops are a bit muddled and have trouble emerging from the malts. There's an earthy/floral hop flavor in there but the hops really come out in the finish. There's a straight hop bitter/piney flavor that lingers on the tongue in the end.

The body here is a little goeey almost syrupy. Reminds me somewhat of honey and maple syrup mixed. The flavors are complex but mild. The malts get a little cloying over time though. I liked the mildness and complexity which made this beer really drinkable but the cloying and piney bitterness in the end were a little offputting.

All in all I liked this beer and I liked the second glass better than the first, I don't think the alcohol affected that decision either since its rather low. I think this is an ESB hiding behind an IPA label. Much more in line with what I would consider ESB with its subtler flavors, balance, and fruity esters. I bet it would be great on cask. A good beer and one that I would drink more of if I could but it didn't provide nirvana like it has for some. thanks to al and mike for giving me the chance to try this unique brew.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stopped through Town Hall Tap on a nine hour trek from northern MN down to Omaha, NE - way out of the way but well worth the trip.

Beer poured a deep amber redish/orange with two fingers of thick frothy head that hangs for quite awhile - leaves a substantial amount of sticky lacing coating the glass. The aroma comes through with super resinous and piny scents and some citrus and slight caramel backing it up. The taste has a good balance of hops and malt with neither of them taking the lead - nice and sweet up front with a good bitter bite and malt backing at the end - nothing truly impressive here but it is quite refreshing. After having a sampler of a handful of different beers this was a nice change for a hophead like myself. Very glad I stopped and extremely impressed with the service and the knowledge the bar keeps and servers had. For sure stopping by again next time!


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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

OK, let's get one thing straight before I review this brew. I have NEVER liked IPAs. I strongly stress, NEVER. After a chance meeting with a fellow BA from Minnesota (Fantome), I was presented with a growler of this brought from the brewery, kept cold in a cooler for the entire duration of the trip to Michigan, as a gift for my upcoming wedding. I readily accepted the beer, and was amazed at how beer can bring people together. Incredible. In anycase...On to the beer. As I have stated, I am not a fan of IPA's. Until now. This is the only IPA I have ever really enjoyed. Poured out to a slightly cloudy amber orange color with a respectable head that left a nice lace around the glass. Odors of hops and citrus were present, as were notes of herbs. Medium to low carbonation. Slightly malty presence is outdone by bitterness and hops, which were strongly present. Just a touch of honey or molasses sweetness on the finish, with a bitter-smooth aftertaste. Recommended. And that's coming from me, who doesn't care for IPA's. Damn good stuff considering. Thanks again to my newfound friend from Minnesota Fantome, and Proc for being such an awesome beer ambassador and introducing me.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.77/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber with a thin white head.

Nose is orange and carmeled citrus hops; has the smell of cooked pineapple and the nose is integrated and balanced between the hops pineapple and the malty fruit. Nice layered and complex nose.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with nice carbonation and good balance. This one can't seem to decide in the mouth if it wants to be a big bright and bitter IPA or a fruity, malty and creamy Double. I'd call it more like a decent double than a good IPA.

Flavors are full of oranges, toffee, creamy lemon but also a bitter herbaceous pine hop character. The flavors are not bright and the flavor profile is not quite integrated. Yet, there is an appeal to this beer and, despite the criticism, I kept going back for more. The flavors and all around profile would have one conclude it is far higher in alcohol than stated. Hard to believe it's only 5.9% as it drinks with much more of an alcohol character and profile than 5.9. It also drinks, smells, feels and tastes much more like a complex double than a hoppy, fresh IPA. Drinkable, to be sure, and somewhat appealing.

Respectfully, a good beer. However, I believe that the beer is not worth the hype.

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Photo of bashiba
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank on cask.

Poured a nice hazzy amber with a great creamy cask head. Very sticky and tons of of lacing.

The smell was a bit light, with mild buscit malt and a bit of grapefruit.

The flavor followed the nose, a malt forward ipa, very rich with english caramal, nice toffee and biscuit. The hops are light and citrusy, with a good medium bitterness.

The mouthfeel has that great medium cask fullness with the silky smooth texture that accompanies a good firkin.

Good cask ipa, could use more dry hopping or some nice fresh cask hopping would really put this over the top.

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Photo of jcartamdg
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to my surly pint glass out of my growler from theduderules. Pours a bright amber with a two finger head. Aroma of hops and almost a butterscotch malty note. Taste follows the nose very tasty and smooth. If I lived in MN this would be my go-to beer!

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Photo of wolfpac255
3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Amber color about 1 finger thickness

S - Smells prety good, a little bready.

T - Taste is not what I expected, heavy carmel and some bitterness to finish

F - Same feel as a bitter IPA with no fruitiness at all, on the other side of the spectrum.

Overall - A decent IPA with nothing really memorable for me. Lots of Carmel flavor.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes- drank 5/17/10. 64oz growler into chouffe tulip.

A- Nice golden color w/ a dash of copper, good pour and sticky lacing.

S- Bitter, piney hops. Grapefruit/citrus notes. Bready malt.

T- Bitter oily hops. Pine sap, resiny. Floral/citric notes, pretty good malt base, lingering bitterness. More bitter than flavorful. Tasty.

M- Good carbonation- actually one of the best growlers I've come across. Good balance too.

D- Fairly high, good stuff. If I was local I'd drink it a lot. Not the best I've ever had, but a good IPA that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to BA JeffKrenner who was kind enough to bring a growler of Masala Mama to Madison on a recent visit. I believe the growler was filled 6-23-07. It was consumed on 6-29-07. The label seemed to indicate that it was good until 7-2-07. This was the first time I had seem a best before date on a growler.

Pours into my 1960s Vintage Watney Mann World Cup stemmed glass a beautiful shade of deep orange copper with brilliant carbonation streams and a thick off white head. Retention was very good.

Aroma is surprisingly balanced. Grapefruit, grapefruit, and ever more grapefruit fume from the liquid but equally present is sweet, lightly toasted bread. Fairly juicy with some resin, though much less then I expected (perhaps because this growler is nearly one week old).

Juicy grapefruit and hints of orange and resin come through nicely in the flavor. Here again we find perfect balance between malt and hops. Bitterness is of course present but it is much more subdued then expect and even where present, it is balanced well by sweet breads. Peach fuzz comes through after some warming. Hints of marmalade too. Plenty of caramel. Resin flavor increases several fold in the moderately dry finish as the beer nears 55 degrees or so. Luscious and juicy mouthfeel. Rather full. Very drinkable.

Not quite what I was expecting. More ESB like then American IPA like as far as I’m concerned. This could potentially be a product of coming out of a 5 or 6 day old growler but I don’t think that it is. Will have to try on tap sometime soon and compare.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to injuredreserve for the growler pour.

Pours a nice rich garnet color, with a good 2 fingers of cream colored head. Nice spongy lacing.

Big floral notes, with a good deal of citrus but a huge caramel malt backbone.

Floral hoppiness, with a pleasant bitter bite, and again, a very rich maltiness. Definitely pretty hoppy, but just as malty too.

Creamy, full bodied for an IPA. Good feeling stuff.

Drinkability is good, and overall, it's a really well done IPA.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler shipped courtesy of Mid - Thanks for the wants hook up bro!

*Notes taken on 07/03/11

A: Pours a deep amber color for an IPA but super clear in appearance with plenty of heady head. Shipping had no effect on the carbonation whatsoever here. Bountiful peaks of frothy off-white foam adorned my pint and left quite the clingy lace.

S: Aroma fell a bit short for me and seemed rather muted. I did pick up some spicey and herbal hops there with a soft caramel maltiness overall.

T: Nice hops. Somewhat juicy. More dominant with an earthy spice and some pine but I think the caramel sweetness takes the driver's seat a bit. Almost butterscoth candy like. Especially on the aftertaste. It does have a rather light and dry clean crisp finish which is refreshing. Aroma had me worried but not bad at all actually.

M: Solid carbonation and hop bitterness gives this one a light medium body with a nice dry crisp finish and slightly slick tongue feel. Crunchy!

D: A good drinking IPA but not the hop bomb I was hoping for with such high reviews on here. More of a caramel and spice combo with very little aroma. I could see MM would definitely pair well with spicy foods.

Glad to have had the opportunity to try this brew and check it off my wants list. Perhaps I just had too high of expectations here but this one doesn't even come close to some of the West coast IPA offerings IMO. Or perhaps this palate is just spoiled!

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brownish copper pour surprises by its darkness, but the generous beige head compensates any ill thoughts. Fully malty nose offers a broad range of varied dark malts aromas, caramel and fitting butterscotch being omnipresent. Strong biscuity feel. The hops, in that regard, are not the prime focus, but just a half of the couple, procuring mostly earthy, anise-like notes that evolve into leafiness in mouth. Quite sweet for an IPA, obviously rather round, more citric in mouth than the nose would let know and definitely less fruity. Expertly hidden alcohol and no astringency join forces to explain the desirable reputation. Reminds me of stuff like Nogne O Batch 100 for its sheer barleywineish malt orientation. Still very tasty and appealing though, a different take.

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Photo of Spider889
3.66/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by normyk at the first Central OH Beer Tasting - at his place! Thanks for hosting Rob, and for all the great beer you shared that day.

Poured a dense honey color with a tall white head that had minor tinges of khaki around the edges.

Smelled medicinal - very resinous pine character.

The taste is full of dry pine. The malt was such that I was also getting an oak flavor. I was reminded somewhat of Burton Baton.

Residual dry bitterness. Lots of grassy pine needles.

I don't think I was nearly as psyched as some were to try this offering, and it may well have been better that way, as I wasn't let down very much. A solid beer for sure, but nothing I'd go to any effort to find again.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Masala Mama- IPA

On tap at Town Hall Brewery- Minnepolis.

Appearance- dark copper/ hazelnut brown with a thick tan head. Laced down the glass.
Smell- Malt, light pine hops, and fruit.
Taste- immediate malt balanced with fruit, peach/ orange. followed by a light piney/ earthy hop.
Mouthfeel- big chewy flavor. Easy to drink.

Overall- Not as hoppy or bitter/ dry as I like my IPA's but a solid 1. If spotted I'll pick up a 6er.

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Photo of beagle75
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with over one finger of off-white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Distinctly piney, with stand-out crystal malt lining up alongside. Otherwise, the smell is very clean.

T: Begins almost dry, with evident crystal malt and savory herbaceous hops. Malt persists into the middle where some late acidity becomes apparent. Bitterness is fairly pronounced in the finish, still retaining residual malt qualities from earlier in the profile.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and balanced on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: Shockingly familiar, this IPA seems to share the same malt bill of a friend's home-brew. As a name-recognition American IPA it is over-rated. On a positive note, it's assertive malt qualities position it most favorably among those other IPAs thought of as East-Coast style.

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Photo of GoldenJet
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've held off on reviewing this for quite some time, as it's kind of my go-to trade bait. That being said, after picking up a growler for hockey tonight, I figured it's time.

And at this time, I still don't get it. It's a good IPA, but I'm not quite sure it's worth all the A's it gets. It has all the standard traits you look for in superior IPA's - nice citrus fruits and hop oil on the nose, a ton of grapefruit and grassy-ness for the taste, and a decent enough kick of hops on the front, middle, and finish.

But what the hell is with the after-taste? It's been the one thing that's always bugged me about Masala Mama, as I can't recall an IPA that lingers like this one does, and it's not in a good way. It reminds me of dated DFH 90 Minute IPA - it's just weird. I just can't get away from it, and it really confuses me.

Overall, like I said, it's a good IPA, but not worthy of all the adoration - which is a tough thing to write, as of all the Town Hall beers in my backyard, this is probably my least favorite.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been wanting to try this beer since I've been a member of this site. A highly rated IPA? Sounds up my alley. A buddy scored a growler in a trade, we proceeded to have at it.

Appearance- Clear and copper. A slightly off-white soapy head. Laces.

Smell- A nice fruitiness. Good hop burst. Plenty of tropical fruits, mangoes, apricots, a tad subdued.

Taste- Too much fucking malt. Sorry. It starts with plenty of earthy, piney hops. It's very bitter. The tropical fruit doesn't come through on the taste. Bitterness plus more malt than I'd prefer. Just not the way I like this style.

Mouthfeel- It's a little syrupy, which can be nice.

Drinkability- Had a glass. Then had a second. Didn't ask for a third, and wouldn't bother trading for it.

Just not my style. I love IPAs and DIPAs, but this is a little maltier, less fruitier than I prefer. More for everyone else I guess.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, summer 2008:

Pours a nice orange-brown with a 1/4 inch head of fine bubbles. Laces like a broken spiderweb. Smells of big hops but also a nice sweet smelling caramel malt. Flavor is nicely hoppy, a bit grassy and lemony. Flavor balance is well done...its not overwhelmingly hoppy, but just a nice mix. Maybe a little overly bitter on the finish though. Medium bodied, a little over-carbonated. Drinks fine...though i have to admit that im left wondering what all the hype is about.

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Photo of rborthwick
3.63/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The appearance was a nice amber with the proper head and plenty of lace. Pleasant aroma and good initial taste balance. To me, the taste of the finishing hops was a bit too aggressive. I noticed a hint of grapefruit in the finish. The beer was good but doesn't quite have the drinkability of some tamer American IPAs like Dogfishhead 60 min.

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Photo of brystmar
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by a generous BA at our tasting this weekend.

Cool looking growler; reminds me of the Russian River ones. Floral, piney, slightly citrusy aroma -- full of fresh hops!

Full blast of hops confront my palate, seemingly devoid of malt (as expected from a Single IPA). Despite others' insistence that this beer was rather malty, I didn't detect any.

Although Single IPAs are not my thing, I can appreciate a job well done. If you like this style, you'll love Masala Mama.

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Photo of nhindian
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

64oz growler poured into a Dogfish Head Signature glass. Growler provided by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

A - This beer pours a lot darker than expected for an IPA, almost gleaning into amber territory but still has that orange starburst. Dark orange, deep red, like a late sunrise. One finger at most of head, a little disappointing, but has some decent retention. Lacing on the other hand, is great, boasting large strokes of foam covering a ton of the glass.

S - The smell is a bit modest, slightly piney, slightly citrusy, but lots of floral aroma here from the hops. Fresh smelling. However there's also a very strong malt backbone in play here as well. Honestly, it's a bit too strong as I feel it detracts from the hops a bit too much and overall it's not incredibly hoppy smelling at all besides the floral rush at the beginning.

T - After taking my first sip, I was taken aback. This isn't very hoppy at all, much to my surprise. The front end is almost all malt and sweetness, before a slight transition into the grapefruit, orange, and bitter end. The malts just overtake the first half of this beer and I'm getting lots of caramel and toffee, and they only begrudgingly recede to let a bit of hops through near the end.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with low carbonation. I don't know how, with Town Hall's counter-pressure filled growlers, but this seems a bit flat. Creamy, yet disappointing.

D - Drinkability is moderate. While a nicely balanced IPA, if I was looking for hops I'd search elsewhere, this beer has too much malt backbone in my opinion.

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Photo of brdc
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a growler, bottled yesterday and brought to me (a big thanks) by some Marshfield friends, including stoutsnipas. I am going to try and be fair and balanced, but keep in mind I am not a big fan of heavily hopped brews.

This is a very nice looking brew, amber with a frothy white head and a thick lacing, and still lots of carbonation. Darker than the average IPA, and certainly better looking.
A very nice, fresh, hoppy and fruity aroma is powerful and evident as you pour it, this one does not require your nose "inside" the glass.
Taste is good, better than most IPAs out there, very hoppy as expected, with some alcohol and a malty hint somewhere in there.
Medium bodied, but not exactly a highly drinkable beer, in my opinion given the relatively weak malt backbone that leaves an unbalanced hoppiness that although has a pleasant taste, has an aftertaste that is too hoppy and can get quite annoying.
A good brew, just not my style, perhaps lacking a bit more malts to balance it out.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Golden brown pour with a small, but relatively stubborn, head with decent lacing.

S: Hoppy smell, but it comes with a nice malt backbone. Smells very sweet, with hints of caramel almost.

T: Piney hops open the beer with a bang, nice and bitter up front. That gives way to a malty finish with a nice hops dryness. Not much citrus, but perhaps some grapefruit.

MF: Not as carbonated as I would have liked, but very smooth. Easy drinking IPA, not a hop bomb in any way.

D: It was alright, very aggressive up front. I wouldn't like much more than a glass or so.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of Faro, I've been itching to try this beer for a while, and I was a little disappointed. The beer pours a darker amber orange that I usually associate with imperial IPAs. There is a thick bone white frothy head that fades to a tight ring, leaving behind small traces of oily lacing.

The smell is a nice blast of citrus, lemons, oranges, orange peels and pineapple. There is also a small amount of pine resin and a nice background of caramel malt. The malt doesn't over power the hops, but it accentuates it nicely.

The flavors follow the smells exactly. The citrus notes (oranges, lemon zest, pineapple) hit the tongue first, followed by pine resin and a noticeable amount of caramel malt before the bitter hops come back and really kick it up a notch

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is spot on for the style. There is a nice dry finish from the hop bitterness, that really takes over at the end of the flavors. I think this one is a bit too heavy on the malt character, and there's just not enough hops for me. Glad I got to try it though.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.