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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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671 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 671
Hads: 1,316
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 860
Gots: 75 | 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
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Reviews: 671 | Hads: 1,316
Photo of jhavs
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shaker pint at the brewery. Fresh.

A= Pretty dark amber, active carbonation, thick off white head that is slow to drift away into a ring around my pint glass. Some lacing sticks to the glass as I drink.

S= Get a malt sweetness followed by mostly earthy hops including some pine followed by just a bit of citrus rind and zest.

T= Seems like old school IPA goodness. Bit of earthy hop flavor, lots of behind the scenes bitterness and a touch of citrus. This is all focused around a malt sweetness and touch of caramel.

M= Medium body with moderate carbonation.

O= It is what it is. A very well done old-school west coast IPA. Much different than the big juicy IPAs currently in vogue including lots of their neighbor Surly's offerings. Very good, very balanced.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A special treat. Let's check this out. Poured into the work snifter from a 64 oz. growler.

A - This might be the darkest IPA I've ever seen. It's a deep orange/red, very transparent. Head subsided to a yarmulke of bubbles, but those seem to be staying. This is pretty.

N - Wow, not at all what I expected. There's a deep woodiness to it, as opposed to hoppiness. Doesn't smell at all like an IPA. Smells good, I'm just nervous.

T - Definitely an IPA. It's a very woody, tree-like IPA, as opposed to a dank, piney situation. I'm blown away, not so much by how good it is, but how interesting and unique it is. This is fascinating; I taste the hops, for sure, but the bitterness I get seems to be unrelated. I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but it's hoppy and bitter, but it's not a hoppy bitterness.

M - Love the immediate froth that you get from some IPAs. Not a liquid in the mouth at all.

O - A truly unique experience; one I am glad to have had. Cheers!

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Photo of T_Hass
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My friend brought me back a howler of this from her trip to MN. The beer pours a clear golden amber color. A white fluffy head quickly emerges and lasts through a good portion of the bee drinking experience. The beer smells mallty and sweet with some citrus on the finish. The taste is about the same. Very balanced malt and citrus flavors with a sweet finish. Overall a nice beer but the more IPAs I drink the more I realize that I'm a hop forward typ of guy.

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Photo of pagriley
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Freshly filled growler (2 days old) poured into a snifter

L - Deep golden amber with 1 inch off white head that lingers
S - Big Honey sweetness followed by tropical notes of mango and a touch of sweetness
T - Malt sweetness to begin followed by earthy citrus, a touch of tropical, then a thump of old school alpha bitterness
F - medium to fuller bodied, with fine carb and a soft finish

Overall a really classic style IPA with an amazing honey mango nose. The flavors are more muted than the nose would suggest, but the harsh bitter finish might be masking some of the underlying complexity. A very good beer, and worth seeking out - I just wish the taste followed the nose a bit more, but other than that (rather picky) complaint, it is text book malt balanced IPA

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Photo of Damian
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 64 fl. oz. growler
Best before AUG 14 2015
Served in a pint glass

Huge thanks to my friends Melissa and Dylan for hauling this from Minnesota as part of our wedding gift.

Clear, crimson amber appearance. A tight, frothy, two finger tall crown of eggshell colored foam topped the liquid. The head faded to a thick, resilient film. Streaky, drippy lacing coated the top portion of the glass.

The aroma was hoppy and bright. Super fruity. Citrusy. Loads of orange zest and candied orange peel. Nice, semisweet caramel malt backbone. Perhaps a touch of brown sugar. Some generic tropical fruit notes were detectible. As the beer warmed, mango was noticeable. I swear I picked up hints of strawberries too. Well balanced overall.

The flavor profile was initially much more dry and bitter than the aroma. Citrus and pine notes came through strong. Loads of white grapefruit. Piney and resinous. Hint of caramel-like sweetness. The finish was quite bitter and contained intense notes of pine sap and grapefruit rind. Dry and resinous. The bitterness lingered long after the swallow. As the beer warmed, the beer became sweeter and more balanced. Juicy tangerine notes came forth.

The liquid contained a frothy, medium effervescence. Medium bodied. Slick and smooth on the palate.

Masala Mama reminded me a lot of a citrusy, piney and bitter, old school West Coast style IPA,
and that certainly is not a bad thing. However, with many of today's IPAs being so bright and juicy, I can see how this might get lost in the fray.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep Amber color. Thick off white head that lingers nicely. Some lacing on the glass. Earthier hop aroma and malt present on the nose. Very well balanced hop-malt flavor profile. Starts with the sweet malt flavor and leaves you with nice bitterness on the aftertaste. Reminds me of a rye-style IPA with that crisp dryness. Medium feel with good carbonation. Overall a nicely done beer

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Photo of Hootie159
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear red. Beyond amber. Beautiful and bubbly. Thick foam head that might not have ever gone away if I didn't start drinking it. Not much on the nose. More sweet malt than the earthy hops. Well balanced taste. Sweet flavor followed by a crisp bitterness. Very smooth, but carbonation present.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank a 64oz growler of this over a day. Solid IPA overall, poured darker than expected but great head retention from a 3 week old growler. Hop profile was good but the beer was maltier than I expected.

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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 StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is very good ipa, no doubt about that, but i expected (with all the hype and very high ratings) this to be memorable and world class, and i think its a league below some of the best ipas out there. that said, its also excellently made, and just a slightly different take. its more in the english style it seems, and not because it has any real appreciable yeast to it, but because of the richer grain bill and the focus on balance rather than hop explosions. this may also have been ahead of this time, if i tasted this beer however many years ago they first brewed it, it would have seemed a lot more unique than it does now. i say the same about pliny, the rest of the world has caught up to that beer a little bit, and the same may be true here. its got a clear shiny copper hue, with a full inch of white head on it. smells balanced, i get as much crystal malt sweetness as i do the hops, which seem well dosed but not insanely interesting as far as the aroma is concerned. in the taste, its familiar northwest hop varietals, with some resinous elements, but really quite reserved in terms of weight and bitterness. the balance is exceptional, but in my heart i wanted this one to stand out for flavor, not just for quality. still an excellent ipa, but i think its not all that distinct.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served on tap at Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Arriving in house pints, the beer showed a reddish honey coloring. A one finger head of soapy, tan bubbles stop atop the liquid, and retained excellently. Cakey chunks of lacing were eventually left in its wake. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be light. The aroma offered big fruity nectary, grapefruity, and herbal hops, amber and pale malts, chalked cornmeal, chemical phenols, spicy booze, light bubblegum esters, tropical pineapple and mango fruitiness, Juicy Fruit gum, raw ginger, black pepper, cherry flesh, Sprite lemon-lime sugars, cough syrup, vinyl plastics, and syrupy pear juice. Subsequent flavoring boasted pale and caramel malt toast, big bubblegum esters, juicy pineapple, heavy fruity hops and lighter piney and citric hop zing, tomato acidity, apricots, sweet creamer, bittering dried oregano and lemon balm, lemon and lime rind, mallow sugars, red apple juice, hairspray, and cucumber skins. With warmth and through the aftertaste, the hops took on a much more surprising herbal bitterness. The body stood on the full side of medium, which carbonation was medium to high, with wet and frothy prickle to the hard palate. Otherwise, slurp, smack, cream, and pop were okay, and the mouth was left puckered and dried of tannins. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank more as a sipper.

Overall, we were so excited to find this so close to where we were staying in Minneapolis. This was quite exactly the closest building to our hotel, and we ended up going here almost every night of our visit to try their vast array of different brews. Here, we met a big IPA, with hearty malt presence to work with such massive, massive, hoppiness. The latter became much more bittered than expected, especially through the end of the sip and its aftertaste. The hope, here, became heavily piney, herbal, and harsh to the palate, but in the best way possible. We actually drove to Minneapolis from Detroit the day we sampled this, and due to weather delays it turned into a fifteen hour drive. Getting in late, we only had the time and energy for a single beer to complement our midnight meal of burgers, and boy was it a nice end to our night. Highly recommended if you can find it.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

After a pretty disappointing seasonal flight at Town Hall last weekend, I opened this growler in hopes that this IPA would live up to my memories of it (5 yrs ago or so). Happily it was just what I remembered - very fragrant with a fine balance between malt and fresh hops flavors. Hints of grapefruit, pine and maybe bubblegum? Medium-thick body with smooth mouthfeel. This does seem more in line with an English-style IPA in my opinion - a bit sweeter up front, providing a good counterweight to the bitter yet fresh finish. One might argue that it lacks subtlety but the Masala Mama is a crowd pleaser with good reason.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours a hazy, amber with a thick cream colored head. Grapefruit, pine, brown sugar, and floral hops on the nose. Pine resin, malt, and citrus zest on the palate with a hint of sour apple. Bitter. Medium bodied with lots of carbonation. Overall a bold IPA from Minnesota.

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Photo of papat444
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%

Thanks to Tricerahops for a growler of this. Stamped Sept. 24, 2014 on the cap.

Nice dirty orange color, flavor is peaches and bitter grapefruit rind. Has a nice creaminess to it that balances things out,. A flavorful, drinkable IPA.

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Photo of lupercmda
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery. Pours a amberish orangish color with a 1 inch finger of head. Has nice lacing. Taste is very bitter with an old school hop flavoring. Lingering dry finish. Not much malt character with this beer. Overall an ok IPA.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the brewery, Minneapolis.

Dark amber with crusty white froth that trails.
Deep twinkly candied orange with hints of resin and powder.
Dried apricot, and clean, even C-hop citrus, pine, and resin.
Pineapple finish and humming orange oil linger.
Light side of medium, crisp, slightly clingy.

Not much at first taste, but has not only bright but effervescent citrus and solid IBUs to the hops. Still, it’s a bit of a throwback. Very good, but not Indeed Let it Ride.

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Photo of gabrielsyme
3.37/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the brewery. Appearance is golden in color, a tad darker than a typical IPA. I don't get much aroma, maybe some pine. Taste is bitter - grapefruit, and spruce. Carbonation is medium-high and it goes down easy despite the bracing bitterness. Overall an enjoyable beer but nothing special.

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Photo of hoody711
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Gift from a buddy in Minneapolis when he came down last weekend. Brought me this and their altbier. Heard a lot about it, so pretty excited. First try - grossly underimpressed. However, I preceded that one with a Permanent Funeral, so it deserves a second, clean chance.

A - from the growler into a tulip. Head is slight, maybe a fingerbreadth, and settles quickly with minimal lacing. Almost no carbonation, but it is 3 days old. Color is a glorious blood orange. Good clarity.

S - a couple days ago all I got was caramel malts. Today I'm getting some nice tropical fruits with a constant sour apple backbone. Very, very interesting. Almost no malt, but it has been in the growler for 3 days. It's good though.

T - very good. Fresh, sour apple at the beginning that almost puckers you up. Then there comes the caramel malts that fade quickly and a huge bitterness massacres your tongue then goes away real quick. The aftertaste is there, but it's only a shadow of the main show.

M - although the bitterness fades quickly, it does leave a lasting coating on the tongue. Faint oilyness. Not sure I could have 3 or 4 of these, but definitely a second.

O - Seems like a good cross between heavy, malty DIPAs and some West Coast tropical fruit. The apple that has almost permeated this growler probably isn't there at the brewery and reflects unfairly on this one. Would love to try some fresh, but it was cool to see how this one changed over 3 days.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a mostly clear, glowing orange color. Thinner head. It leaves smaller rings of lacing.

S-Big juicy citrus notes. Highly hopped complementary aromas of tropical fruits and grass. Freshly squeezed hoppiness with resinous notes. Lightly balanced by some dough and caramel.

T-A huge duet of tangerines and grass. Light mango and serious, lingering piney bitterness. The bitter aftertaste lasts and lasts. Light breadiness as well as caramel come in but quickly give way to the erupting bitterness.

M-Super drinkable. Agreeable body with softer carbonation. Again, long, seemingly endless bitter aftertaste which I loved.

O/D-A really awesome IPA. Maybe a step below elite but it clearly delivers. A definite winner. Wouldn't complain if I had this again!

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Photo of BobZ
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to yamar68 for this one.

64oz Growler poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Orange/amber with a big fluffy 2" to 3" head that leaves curtains of sticky lacing.

Smell: Hoppy citrus with some nice bready malt.

Taste: Very well balanced IPA, grapefruit citrus, hoppy bitterness in concert with a nice bready malt backbone. Really more citrus hop flavor than pine (which is a personal preference of mine).

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated, and clean on the palate.

Overall: Excellent example of a well balanced flavorful IPA, so glad to have the opportunity to try a fresh growler.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75


Thanks for sending this my way, yamar68!

A darker than anticipated IPA. This is kind of a light copper or very dark amber with a somewhat large, quite persistent near-white head. Lined lacing down the glass.

This smelled fantastic as soon as I twisted off the top of the growler. Strangely, it didn't seem to have a similar punch when I stoke my nose down inside a full glass of this beer. Definite citrus notes emerge, however, which are welcome and in abundance. There's also definite caramel sweetness and some light toasted biscuit aroma as well. A well balanced aroma, but certainly not as hop-forward as some of my San Diego favorites.

The flavor follows the aroma very similarly. Well balanced, somewhat bitter, and incredibly drinkable. Citrus (grapefruit mainly), sweet, complementary caramels, and lightly toasted biscuit.

Medium to near full in body with moderate carbonation.

A long-time want checked off the list! I'm so glad I got to try this one!

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Masala Mama pours a deep cooper color with a small lacing head. There was an enjoyable mild floral aroma. The taste had a well balanced flavor, but then finished with a nice floral taste. Full bodied flavor, and finishes very crisp. Overall a very high quality IPA.

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Photo of nickfl
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of white head on top of a amber-brown body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves decent lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pine and soft caramel with a bit of toffee and a hint of sweet vanilla.

T - Pine and orange hop notes up front it a heavy malt base. Some toffee and more fruity, sweet hops in the middle with a finish of pineapple, vanilla, and caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, average carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This beer has a remarkably clean, pungent hop character for such a relatively dark example of the style. The hops are fruity and blend perfectly with the sweet, slightly caramel malt character.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two finger dense head with scattered lacing on a clear deep amber body. Aroma is excellent with floral, toffee, grapefruit and orange peel citrus, earthy hops and subtle pine notes. Flavor also is excellent with strong hop presence with a toasted malt base. Hop character includes tart citrus, floral, pine, earthy and slightly herbal hops. Basically all major hop notes in one but the impressive part is how they are still distinct and well defined making this one very complex. Medium body and moderate carbonation. One of the best IPAs I have had. This one is up there with Pliny the Elder just more on the tart and pine side.

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Photo of kevanb
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

64oz growler courtesy of BierVogel poured into a Town Hall tulip glass.

Masala Mama pours a lovely copper color, medium amber, hues of orange with a clear complexion, a nice finger of thick white head that has great retention leaving behind a great layer of frothy film atop the beer with nice webbed lacing. The aroma is nice and pine forward with a nice grassy presence, bright citrus tones with a really nice sweet malt presence. The nose is very well balanced, not overly complex, but pleasant and inviting. Pine jumps onto the tongue, very resinous and sticky on the tongue, earthy lemongrass flavors pop as well, a bit of dandelion weediness as well, some bright grapefruit comes across as well with a light floral presence that is lost on the nose. Smooth sweet malt eases it's way forward with a nice dry bitter lingering finish that really hits the spot. The body is great, full and rewarding but not overly soapy, medium carbonation, great for the style.

Verdict: A really rewarding IPA from Town Hall. While not overly complex or testing the limits of a hoppy beer, the balance of hoppy flavors and the sweeter malt profile is artfully executed. This is definitely a beer worth seeking out.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.