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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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BA SCORE
97
world-class

668 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

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Reviews: 668
Hads: 1,294
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 857
Gots: 70 | 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
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Reviews: 668 | Hads: 1,294
Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass at the brewery in Minneapolis. Reviewed from notes taken around Thanksgiving.

A: Pours a half finger beige colour head of average thickness and cream, but poor (<10 second) retention. Body colour is a clear copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Clean malts, floral hops, hints of pine, clean hops, a hint of hop bitterness. An average to mild strength aroma.

T: Crisp clean malt build with hints of toasted malts, floral hops, and vague citrus. Balanced decently but actually a bit bland. Quite simple, especially for the style. The bitternss does come through, negatively affecting the balance (a critical mistake in an IPA).

Mf: Smooth and wet. Good thickness. Okay carbonation.

Dr: A lackluster IPA. I expected far better given its current ratings. Needs more body and depth. I might get it again, but it's a bit meh. A huge disappointment from Town Hall.

Low C+ (941 characters)

Photo of kenito799
3.14/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Town Hall BrewPub, Minneapolis.

Since my family lives in the Twin Cities now and this beer sits so highly near the pinnacle of the BA top 100, of course we stopped to check it out on the way from the airport. This scenario is a set-up for a let-down, as happens whenever hype precedes an experience...what's more, American IPA is not my favorite type of beer. However, I made my best attempt to set preconceived notions aside and evaluate this beer objectively.

Appearance was average for an amber tap beer, nice lacing, not too much head. I appreciate and enjoy the floral aromatics that massive hopping provides to our national hophead style; piney, grapefruity, nice to inhale deeply.

The hop flavors come through in the drinking, walloping one's (hop-)head with overtly strenuous bitterness, endlessly lingering and puckering the tongue. Nice with food. I have admitted that the style isn't my favorite, nevertheless, I think American IPAs succeed more when the hop slam is balanced by careful attenuation with mellowing malt flavors. Anyone can dump hops into a brew at all steps of its creation...it takes skill to harness their intensity. I don't think that was really done here. For me a more successful attempt is found over at Smuttynose in New Hampshire with their Finest Kind IPA. If you are looking for a full-on hop bodyslam, though, you'll find it here. (1,392 characters)

Photo of leftmindedrighty
3.18/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

64oz Growler received in a trade with RobertDwight

Serving of it poured into a tulip glass

Deep amber color, very dark.

Smell is of strong and bitter hops, faint alcohol smell

Taste overall is not bad, This IPA has a very sharp hop bite, there is no getting around it. I think its a tad unbalanced, the hops just start pistol whipping your taste buds and there's no relenting. This is a beer for hop heads, and almost no one else. (442 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've had this twice now at Minneapolis Town Hall on business trips. The first time I had this I had it with a burger after drinking a few other IPAs at a joint down the street. I didn't particularly enjoy it but thought this was due to my lack of palate from earlier IPAs and the food that I had. The next (and last) time I tried this it was my first beer of the day and I drank it without food at the same time; however, it was the same --- I just didn't dig it that much.

Being a West Coast hop head, I thought that maybe something was wrong with me. This is one hoppy beer and very bitter. I could note the pine and citrus in the nose and amber color said tasty IPA. But here's the thing, it was just bitter. No malt backbone at all. It was like drinking liquid hops. My brain kept telling me that this is the good thing --- hop heads like hops. But my taste buds said they didn't like it.

Normally, I'll follow up one good IPA with another. Both times I stopped at Town Hall and had a Masala Mama, I didn't want another. (1,026 characters)

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Growler into Sam Adams lager glass, big thanks to MBABJJ (Jason) for the chance to try this! Growler is best-by dated on the 24th and arrived on the 24th, drank today, on the 26th.

Pours a nice clear copper with a creamy one-finger bone-white head that settles into a thin cap, thanks in part to the laser etching.

Nose is kind of light - caramel malt and piny hops are the main stars, but there really isn't that much going on.

Taste is bitter up front, raw, fairly astringent, carrying notes of grapefruit rind, resiny pine, and underpinned by a moderate caramel sweetness. Really hard to pull that sweetness out by the finish, though, as the bitterness stats early and charges hard right through to the long, very bitter finish. Lots of early addition hops in this one; not my style of IPA by a long shot. Would like to try this one both on cask and fresh at the source on tap and see if the bitterness levels are the same.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lingering bitterness on the finish, carbonation is a bit sharp and big bubbled.

Drinkability is about on part with taste for the same reason; the long bitterness builds and builds and isn't ideal for multiple pints. Yet another IPA where the experience is dominated by bitterness instead of hop flavor; everything a beer like Sculpin or Alesmith IPA is, this one isn't. Rather disappointed. (1,353 characters)

Photo of mykie73
3.24/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was looking forward to trying this. Thanks Ipafool for sharing your growler.

a) bubbly head that would not go away. Amberish pale color which seems like it will have a large malt backbone. Head looks great.

s) without a doubt the best part of this beer. tropic, floral, citris, pineapple. smells awesome.

t): and it falls apart here. It's not bad but I think it's much more of a pale ale than anything. I tasted some grapefruit and a lot of flowers. I imagine it would taste better with fresh hops as it has that floralness to it. finishes more sweet than dry (like stone) to my palate but there is indeed some lingering bitterness in the aftermath

m): carbonated,coated mouth adequately.

d) we had a growler with four people, but people did not want to drink more than one glass. It's sesionalbe and easy to drink...I was just more, for a lack of better term, bored with it. The growler was in good shape and only 4 days old....overall, the appeal of this beer is a mystery to me. Next time, I visit my sister, I'll have to try it on tap. Glad I tried it though. It was a great smelling beer. (1,101 characters)

Photo of crusian
3.32/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

From my phone, so it is shortened.

Nice head, citrus aroma jumps off the glass before I can pick it up.
Head retention is nice, and lacing is smooth. Taste is citrusy and
piney, but I notice that this is also extremely thin like the coconut
jack frost. It has the consistancy of water. The hops are prevalent, but have a feeling that they wouldn't hold up to a bottling. Can't expect too much, as it is a session beer basically. (429 characters)

Photo of shivtim
3.34/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was pretty excited about trying this beer. It's a beautiful rusty brown copper, with a nice foamy off-white head, and exceptional lacing. Looks delicious. The nose is just hops, nothing too crazy here. Taste starts out pleasantly with piney hops and some balancing malts, but it's followed by a way over the top syrupy hop finish. This one-note hop taste sticks around in your mouth for a good 45 seconds. Nothing complex to the ending, just hop hop hop.
Mouthfeel is good, but drinkability suffers because of the extreme lingering aftertaste. Overall it's not bad, but I wish the ending on the taste wasn't such a simple hop overload. (638 characters)

Photo of photomike
3.35/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color ("like a penny," as noted by bulletrain76 Senior), with moderate wet lacing and minimal retention. "Meh."

Smells quite malty--very bready, with a nice wallop of herbal, pine hops.

Taste is surprisingly malty as well. This ain't your West Coast IPA, pal. Strongly bitter with more pine hops and a bit of mandarin orange/mango flavor. Tasty, but nowhere near a world-class IPA, IMO. There's nothing here that keeps me wanting more--simply a basic IPA that lacks balance and harmony.

Semi creamy and nicely carbonated, but somewhat light in the body. Not bad.

The light body and crisp finish makes this go down easy, but I'm not horribly interested in drinking more.

Far from worth trading for a growler, especially in the land where the Pliny flows in the streets like so much runoff. I hate to sound like an elitist, but I think the homers may have inflated the ratings for this one. (912 characters)

Photo of gabrielsyme
3.37/5  rDev -22.9%
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. (301 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting to try this for a while and a final thanks to mnjeff for this!

The beer poured out darker than I imagined. Straight-up dark amber color. Smell was mainly hoppy. A piney hop scent mixed with a bit of spicyness. The head was normal. Lacing was normal for the style.

The taste had a crisp hop flavor right off the bat. A little bit of caramel malt shined through on the finish. Mouthfeel was nicely carbonated with a little creaminess.

This beer was insanely easy to drink, and that's what I like most about it. I just see this as an easy drinking IPA and nothing to rave about. It tasted good but I can name a ton of IPAs that I like more, many of which are accessible to me. If this was widely available I could see it getting lost in the shuffle. I'm still glad to have tried it though. (807 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.47/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap on a trip to Minnesota and even brought a growler home. The bartender told me that this is the beer that they hand their collective hats on. While I thought it was good, I was not as impressed as others.

The golden orange color gave a half inch head in the pint glass. It had a rather hoppy aroma, but I did not detect the same citrus hints that others detected. The hops hit you in the initial taste with some citrus notes following. It follows with a bitter hoppy aftertaste that entertains the sides of the tongue for some time.

As far as IPA's go, this is better than most. Still, I was not overly impressed. The citrus hints were well hidden and I could not find a strong note of anything particularly unique. (735 characters)

Photo of brakspear
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A visit with friends led me to the Town Hall Brewery and a chance to sample this frequently shipped beer. Overall the beer was a decent IPA, above average for the Middle West perhaps, but nothing that blows the west coast made versions away.

Came served in a nice pint glass with a decent head that lingered over a clear body. The aroma lets you know it is an IPA, citrusy, piney, with some nice malt sweetness.

The flavor was a bit washed out and one dimensional, the hops overshadow the malt a bit too much even for the style with a rough aftertaste that did not finish well. Not bad but, I have sampled better versions in Seattle and Portland. The beer does have a nice body.

I would order this again if I was at the Town Hall, but I will sample their other beers before I come back to this. (803 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the chance to sample a good amount of this from a fresh growler shared generously by BMan1113VR at The Lost Abbey tasting bar on the evening before Christmas in July.

The beer appears orangish amber with a large white head from my vigorous pour.

The nose is caramel malt with some dull citrus hops. Some grapefruit, orange, and lemon are apparent. The citrus is there, but it's pretty muted and doesn't stand out much from the caramel sweetness. Some pine is also evident.

The hops are pretty dull in the flavor as well. I'd like to say the grapefruit and pine really stand out from the lackluster caramel malt sweetness, but that isn't the case. The beer has a nice medium level of bitterness, but the hop flavor is definitely lacking. I'm not impressed; maybe the growler experienced some trauma on its journey from Minnesota. (837 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Growler received in a past trade with a generous MN guy. Shared with kubrick215 and a non-BA friend.

Pours a hazy dark golden orange with burnt orange hues when held to a light and a two finger frothy, pillowy off-white head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with rings, streaks and splotches of soapy lacing.

As soon as the growler was opened you could smell the dank, resinous oily hops from across the room. Very earthy and floral with a lots of pine and sticky kind bud character dominating the nose. There's also a good amount of sweet citrus and tropical fruit. Hints of pineapple, mango, grapefruit and citrus rind. Subtle malts with hints of sweet alcohol and biscuit.

Chewy full body with a blast of dry, bitter hops that linger throughout into a long, dry finish. More one-dimensional than the aroma suggests with an overpowering dry, earthy pine flavor. Slightly floral but mostly just intensely bitter and dry. Kind of like eating a tree. Resinous, sticky and oily with the dryness just coating the tongue in an unpleasant way. This really hurts the mouthfeel and drinkability. Not much in the way of sweetness to balance things out. The tropical and citrus fruit notes from the aroma are minimal if not completely absent. It's hard to pick anything else out underneath the dry, earthy pine needles. Faint malt backbone but again not enough to balance things out much. Subtle hits of caramel, biscuit and graham cracker.

Overall, I'm happy I got to try this beer but it was just too one-dimensional for my liking. I love intense bitter hoppy beers but this beer coats the tongue in an unpleasant way and reminds we of having cotton mouth after smoking low grade weed back in college. (1,761 characters)

Photo of jamesdergen
3.51/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber orange with a decent foamy head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Somewhat sweet and citrusy with some hints of pine.

Taste: Great big hop flavor with the ever-present grapefruit flavor at the end that fades out into a somewhat nutty, hoppy bitter aftertaste. Also has hints of that dreaded cooked vegetable taste at the end, which I have never noticed on tap, only from the growler.

Mouthfeel: Surpringling light for a beer with such big, dense flavor. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter and leaves the mouth somewhat dry.

Drinkability: I could definitely enjoy multiple pints of this brew. Goes down easy and doesn't destroy your tastebuds. It's that weird taste at the end that brings the rating down a bit.

I had the rare opportunity to enjoy this beer twice today: once on tap and then from the growler a few hours later. I went out to Town Hall after work, and came home to find out that my roommates had picked up a growler earlier in the day. The beer from the growler wasn't as full-flavored and it had that cooked vegetable taste at the end that kinda ruined the experience for me. Had I been taking notes at Town Hall tonight, this brew would have garnered higher ratings. (1,236 characters)

Photo of walleye
3.53/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks goes to a trader from Minneapolis, Minnesota for this growler full of beer. had this earlier this month. poured a nice golen orange amber just like it should with a light tan head. aroma wow the hops jump right out there when the cap was twisted off like walking thru a pine forest, than got citrus leaning to the orange and. flavor, I am glad I didn’t rate this on my 1st glass I thought that I might have gotten a bad batch this was so dry that I had to have a glass of water with it, so down in the ref. it went came back a couple of days later and I could tell it was starting to mellow so after drinking this for a little over a week a good portion of the dryness went away and it became a very enjoyable beer to drink, the flavors were hops, orange and some grapefruit (782 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re-review based on a growler shipped by Buebie -- expedited at my request. Thanks, Brian.

A: Pours a rich amber with an inch of fluffy off-white head. It recedes into a film on the brew, but never goes away, and it leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S: The glass smells great. Pine hops dominate, with citrus, some floral notes, and a caramel and bready malt underneath. Very aromatic.

T: Follows the nose very well. Lots of citrus in the form of grapefruit pith and lots of sticky pine resin. Maybe a hint of floral hops, but that could just be the citrus carrying over. This isn't a hop bomb, though; there is substantial bread in the flavor, with a caramelly finish before pulling into a citrusy aftertaste. It's balanced, but it borders on an APA in my eyes. It's closer to middle-of-the-pack to me than top-of-the-line.

M: Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation that supports the style well. I'd like it a touch drier, though.

D: The second growler was much improved over the first one. I enjoyed it immensely, and can see why it's world-class in most people's eyes. I agree that it's fantastic, but I have a number of IPAs I would rank ahead of this one. (1,172 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
3.57/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared by ??? at Darkness Day... Thanks random guy!
Reviewed from short voice notes dictated into iphone.

Dark amber body... Weak head, decent lacing.
Sweet malts up front dry out to leave a bitter and surprisngly dry finish (surprisingly because this smells so sweet, looks so dark, and initially hit with a big burst of sweet malt!). I REALLY like the way this beer finishes, but it just isn't enough to save it for me.

Nice body-- good carbonation level touch of prickliness that I love...

Overall-- this is a pretty well-balanced IPA, but it lingers on the sweet/malty side for my liking. I respect what they've done with it-- and I could see this being a nice "daily drinker" for people that stop into the brewpub nightly, but it isn't one that I deem worthy of going crazy over. (795 characters)

Photo of rpstevens
3.58/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (1,080 characters)

Photo of nhindian
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (1,568 characters)

Photo of brdc
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (1,003 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of brystmar
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
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. (484 characters)

Photo of rborthwick
3.63/5  rDev -16.9%
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. (341 characters)

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 668 ratings.