Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,261 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,261
Reviews: 666
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 836
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,261 | Reviews: 666
Photo of Bierman9
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yo' Mama has held up very well after a journey east from the Land o' Lakes and sitting in my fridge for a week. Opened a growler of this and heard a lovely, strong hissing sound. Poured from the growler a clear, medium-to-dark copper color; quite attractive. Scattered bubbles slowly make their way upwards. Head was tan, creamy and mousse-like, rising about 1" above the bier, and later maintaining well at about 1/4". Head leaves a nice lacing trail on the glass. Nose has a good bready malt lean to it surrounded by a pleasing citrussy hop presence. Body is a solid medium-plus, and it has a creamy, velvety feel on the tongue, with a smidge of bubbliness. Flavor has some toasty malt notes leading off, but they are soon engulfed by lots of floral, citrus notes, though the malt is not totally wiped from the slate. I get some grapefruit rind tastes and a resiny, oily aspect, too. Aftertaste is built long and hard on the citrus, finding all the nooks and crannies of the mouth and throat and sticking there.
Glad to have finally met Yo' Mama. Though perhaps not the "Bo Derek-like 10" that some envision her, she's welcome in my abode any time. Big thnx to FMonk in the Twin Cities for sending this lady my way. Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

717

Photo of Gusler
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler
This beer disembogues the growler a luminously clear deep rusty red color with a monstrous light tan head that is frothy in texture with the residual lace a fine coat upon the glass. Nose is nicely floral, sweet with malt, fresh and citrus crisp, amazing as it has made a long trip from cool Minnesota to a hot Arizona and as it set also for 3 days in my neighbor’s apartment. Start is lightly sweet, the malt presence pleasing and the top fair to middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is light to moderate in acidity, the hops powerful in their bite, the dry aftertaste continues the hop bite to the very end, a quite good IPA I’d say, and my appreciation goes to tavernjef for this growler, which will be consumed quickly with much gusto!

Photo of proc
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very solid IPA.

This one pours out to a copper-to-burnt-orange color in the glass, with an average head. Considering the growler made the trip from the Twin Cities to Motown, I was impressed with the carbonation. The aroma is citrus and pine and is quite impressive. The taste is superb, with a wallop of hops that not only assault the taste buds, but actually massage them, if that makes sense. There is some underlying malt presence that keep the hops from overloading this beer, but its not quite a balanced presentation, as the hops are the main attraction. This beer reminded me quite a bit of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, but with a smoother malt profile.

Extremely drinkable. Delicious. This beer reminds me why the IPA style is my favorite.

A big thank you to Paul (fantome) for bringing this one back to Michigan for me to try. Paul and I did a 9AM beer "trade off" in a church parking lot. Yes, it was a most-holy beer exchange.

Photo of silenius
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Tavernjef for this sample. I'm not sure why the Bros. gave this a sub-four rating. I really enjoyed it and so did everyone at the barbecue on Saturday.

The beer has a orange/amber color that is quite deep. Massive head and major stickiness. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Massive floral, piney, and citric hop scent. Second only to Dreadnaught in smelling soooo good. I couldn't wait to taste it.

Taste confirms the nose. A piney and floral taste. I don't get the massive grapefruit rind that I have found in other IPAs. I actually don't care for the grapefruit taste all that much, so this is welcome. My first beer went down fast. I only got 2 pints from the growler. Oh well. Maybe someday I'll get more. Other drank it as well and it was a hit.

I kept wishing I had more to share as the growler ran dry. My only consolation is that I can get Dreadnaught and Bear Republic Racer 5 regularly. Thanks, Tavernjef. I hope my return beers do this justice.

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: ½ gallon growler. A big thanks to tavernjef for the sample. Nice psst when I popped the cap.

Appearance: Excellent frothing, rocky and bubbly. The stickage factor is up there, the head clings most of the way down the glass. Sunset amber hue, a bit darker than I expect for an American brewed IPA.

Smell: Flowery and oily hop all over the nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Super hops, old school micro style with a raw bitterness. There is something missing, I found it hard to focus on the maltiness even in a balancing sense. Every time the malt tries to come though the hops blur it out of the way. Slight alcohol and nutty yeast in the back. Minty, vaguely piney and with a slather of citric peel in the hop flavor. The long road of bitter hops leaves the palate only able to taste hops.

Drinkability & Notes: This one brings back memories of the Fort Hill Brewpub in Boston. Sadly they we one of the first victims of the BIG DIG as far as restaurant closings. I remember they had a super hoppy red ale … that is what it was called “red ale” nothing earth shattering but fresh, drinkable with a nice hoppiness to it. I’d certainly sit down again with this beer for the night as I am right now.

Note after the second pint: The after taste is actually annoying ... the hop character does not really impress me all that much.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having a fresh growler of Town Hall's Masala Mama in one's beer fridge for five days is either the ultimate example of self-control or is the very definition of insanity. Leaning toward the latter, I've decided that today's the day that I 'stop the madness'. Best by date of June 7.

Hazy, dark orange-amber; tawny to be exact. No visible suspended bits to my eye. The head is somewhere between rich, dark cream and light tan and looks as stiff as softly beaten egg whites. It's falling at a glacial pace and I'm beginning to see gorgeous patterns of intricate lace. Eventually there are thick, chunky rings and small sheets all over the glass. Why won't the appearance button go to 6.0?

The nose is incredible and simply cannot be improved upon. Loads of sweet, fruity, citrusy hops comprise the aroma, one that rivals any in IPA-land. The flavor is exceptional as well. A bittersweet, hoptastic, grapefruit pith-like, sprucey bombshell explodes across the tongue and lingers forever, aided by a full, resiny, sticky mouthfeel.

It may be heresy to some, but I feel that this beer contains a bit too much malt (flavor). The toasted caramel malt backbone is a little too prominent for my liking. It doesn't quite take center stage away from the hops, but it does intrude. Keep in mind that I'm a major hophead and have never had a too-hoppy beer.

Also keep in mind that I'm being extremely picky. This is very, very good beer. It's just that the caramel flavor keeps it out of the upper echelon of my very favorite IPAs. I am enjoying every drop though and this growler is unlikely to last until sundown. Anyone who needs a hop fix need look no further than this beautifully made, well-balanced (so sue me!), delicious beer.

Because MM is (almost) always available at Town Hall, it's going to take every ounce of the self-control that I mentioned above not to jump into my car and head north whenever the Masala Mama jones overtakes me. Given the current price of gasoline, I figure that a fresh pint of this delicious nectar will cost me $53.50. Yeah, that's about right.

Photo of BierReise
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a Growler Bottled in May 04’. Poured a slightly hazed copper with an orange hue and a huge frappy foamy head that completely resists gravity. I think it’s still growing as I drink. Nice big citrus like hop aroma. Medium smooth body. Flavor is a good balance of hops and malt. Hops providing lots of bitterness and good flavors with malt backing it up nicely. Unsure of the abv however it does have a decent kick to it. Overall a great IPA. Thanks Monk!

Photo of goindownsouth
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very, very fine brew. Thanks to garymuchow for allowing me to behold the power of the Mama.

This deeper and richer-looking brew surprisezed me with its appearance. Its dark haze and thick and rocky head were a sight to behold. The nose was hoppy indeed, with pine resin and some slight citrus, but a nice kick of earthiness to it as well (maltiness?). The flavor was crisp and not heavy on the palate in any way, again the hops came through with glowing ferver, and the malty goodness made it a solid combination.

A very solid IPA. As the growler was emptied, I found something in the flavor that did not quite sit right with me, hence the drinkability score. The fact that this was made into a cult legend may been a bit exaggerated, though.

Zum wohl!

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: A brown Grolsch like, flip top, EZ Cap brown glass 'mini-Growler'. Simply has the letter ‘M’ in black pen scrawled on the white ceramic top. A present all the way from Minneapolis. Hell Yeah!

Appearance: Gorgeous rustic brown copper body that is perfectly lucid. Carbonation perfect, given that it was rebottled, this is impressive in of itself. A lovely collage of milky tan bubbles swirl 3 inches below the liquid surface as the Mama rises in my Imperial Pint glass, all the timing assisting the formation of a nice 1” thick tan head. Knowing this was rebottled, I kept some Mama back in the bottle for top-ups and to reinitiate any disappearance, but I shouldn’t have worried, head retention was pretty good. Nice slaking expanded ring lacing as I take each sip. Has a remarkable English Yorkshire Bitter appearance to it.

Nose: Lots of deep luscious hoppy aromas, light but inviting Satsuma odors with the zest of freshly squeezed pungent oranges. Slick hop oils, some pine smells and lots of chewy coniferous needles. Deep inhalation reminds me of the sharp wakening smell of Grapefruit on a morning. This will most certainly wake you up!

Taste: Concentrate hard, and at first you can detect biscuit, malts, caramel and some toffee, yet this is quickly consumed by the hoppiness of this one. Bitter at first, but a hoppy pine sharpness with an orange/lemon twist and a biting grapefruit feel in the back end. Lots of hops, hops, hops, hops. Maybe not the bitterest IPA, but it does impress the hell out of you with the resin like hop profile, yep this is certainly hoppy!

Mouthfeel: This is only 5.9%, and whilst it drinks well, personally I find that initially it has a bigger mouthfeel after the swallow, rather than during the preliminary imbibing experience. The lingering hoppy after-taste, mixed with the pine encrusted malts in the background, lend a bigger accent to the next mouthful. Sharp grapefruits induce saliva, all adding to the massive overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Easily imbibed, I dearly love the pine-hop-grapefruit flavors and long lingering aftertastes and, pardon the pun, the cascading mouthfeel that builds as you drink this. More, more, more Mama!

Overall: Absolutely superb, and to think that this was rebottled!!!! Wow, this would be a serious kick-ass beer fresh from the Cask - I simply must get to Minneapolis and the Town Hall Brewery!

A very impressive IPA, from an equally impressive BA! What to say, words are simply not enough. A *Serious* “Cheers Mate” to BigHuge for this offering. Top Marks all round. It really is true, wherever you find great beer, you *will* find great people. We must get to share a beer in person one day Joe, and I cannot think of a better place than the Town Hall Brewery when this monster Mama is on Cask. The first Cask is on me!!

Photo of SheepNutz
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, a growler of Masala Mama, sent from miles away from the great BA Feloniousmonk. Thanks Al, you have made a dream come true. I just finished 8 hours of standing in front of a broiler, waiting, knowing that this sweet treat was calling to me from home. What a way to finish a work shift.

It pours a slightly hazy deep red-apricot color into my tulip-style glass with three tall fingers of off-white head. Layers of lace cling for dear life. The smell hits the nose as sweet and fruity, but the hops that follow right behind show that this brew is all business. Somewhere in there, a hint of ethanol arises. A captivating aroma. The taste also starts sweet, with pineapple juice and fresh-cut grapefuit and orange. The finish is where the hops really shine through, cutting rough against my tongue one way, and smooth the other. Ahh juicy piney hops linger forever, not wanting this moment to end, just like me. The body is so thick and smooth, like nothing I've had in another IPA. It just coats the tongue and lips so well. The drinkability is through the roof. For a hop lover, a growler is not enough.

So I wonder if I can find any jobs in Minneapolis? Sure I'm not much for the cold weather, but the Mama could warm me up anytime. This could be it, THE perfect IPA. There are no imperfections, no flaws. It makes all other IPAs and double/imperial IPAs it's bitch. Thanks again Al, it's beautiful stuff. I owe you my first born.

Photo of marc77
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ruddy deep copper hue with a light murk. Dense, stiff, steadfast ivory white head leaves coating, dogged lace. Pungent waft of pine sap and grapefruit zest upfront in aroma. Medium lovibond caramel ensues and bolsters. Trace biscuit hints surface as it warms. Very enticing aromawise. Laconic snap of toffeeish malt upfront in aroma is readily overrun by an enveloping combination of citrus pith and quinine. Quinessentially "Northwest" hop flavor rushes in once initial bitterness partially subsides, and is of a spruce needle, lemon zest and grapefuit flesh mélange. Hop bitterness is mostly unyielding and melds with the subdued malt character to lend a burnt biscuit impression. Lightly bodied overall, but with ample dextrins for a soft, almost airy mouthfeel. Finishes with a resurgence of caramel sweetness secondary to a lingering sharp, alpha acid bite. An assertively hopped IPA, deep in hop flavor, heavy handed in hop bitterness and redolent of hop bouquet. Superb. One glass of this would bitter an entire tank of Budweiser. A sincere cheers to Feloniousmonk for sending the growler!

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a growler named Jamshed, which came to NoVA courtesy of the host with the most: feloniousmonk.

Appearance: Tea-twinged light brown topped by a foamy and rocky tannish head. The head retained a big ol' film of foam and left thick sheets of lacing on the sides of the glass. Impressive.

Smell: A good ol' twang of hops: orange rind, grasses, some pine, grapefruit citrus. A minor hint of toffee-like malts show this won't be hop-tea.

Taste: Solid malt presence with a sh'load of hoppiness. Heavy on the fruity citrus and spruciness. A lingering sting of IBUs. Damn Biatch!

Mouthfeel: Burly and brash like a hoppy elephant dancing on your tongue.

Drinkability: Hell yeah! Little Jamshed was not enuf. I must have more. Too bad I just signed a year-long lease...

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Grapefruit juice with orange smoothie. Balanced for an IPA, not very hoppy or carbonated, which I liked. Maybe lost a bit on the trip down, and it did in the hours and couple days from opening. Was best in first few minutes, with extra head. Loved suctioning that cream on top. A six out of five in drinkability.. Excellent citrus grapefruit aroma. Beautiful appearance of hazy copper.

Many thanks to the unofficial Duke of the Town Hall ,Feloniousmonk, for coordinating a growler and other beers to me on my recent USA trip to Cleveland.

REVISIT AND RERATE: On-tap with Al at the pub 4.5 years later. Its still a very good IPA though did not get the grapefruit juice. The hops: Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, and Mt. Hood. A good bitterness, where is the grapefruit? A significant difference. Having just had it 48 hours before, I must say the Sculpin is now the champ.

Photo of purplehops
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Masala Mama poured a beautiful copper red with a frothy white head from its 1/2 gallon growler. The glass was covered in thick multifaceted lacing.
The bouquet, for this was not just an aroma, was citrus, fruity, and green piney hops. A swirling contrast that blended together in perfection and then separated into its components. Grapefruit and lime, apricot and peaches, and then resinous pine. Each hop variety holding its own against the others. And yet there in the background was a sweet maltiness lingering behind the hops.
Taste started with a well balanced overload of hop bitterness that smacked your taste buds to attention. The piney greenness was at the forefront but quickly gave way to flavors of grapefruit and meyer lemons. This was followed by fruit flavors of apricot and nectarines blending with a pleasant backbone of carmel and toasted maltiness. Notes of brown sugar and molasses mixed with toasted barley could be tasted in the background. Toward the end the piney and citrus hops tried to suppress the malty flavors leaving you with a suppressed bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste was slow fading malt and grain flavors replaced by lingering hop bitterness with a touch of sweet resin.
Masala Mama had a medium body with a pleasant fullness in the mouth. For the amount of hop bitterness, it had a creamy feel on the tongue.
Overall this is one excellent American IPA. I wish it was available when I lived in the neighborhood. Thanks to Tavernjef for the most wonderful sample of Minnesota goodness.

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thursdays at my house growing up were always reserved for family time. My father would sit and tell us kids stories about the Korean War, while my mother would sit in her chair knitting the ever-present and continually unfinished sweater. Tommy and I would listen intently to my father while occasionally looking over when my mother would mutter an expletive or two while missing a knit or pearl.

The stories my father told were often over the top. Mythic battles. Heroic friendships. I often took them with a grain of salt. Overtime, the stories became more convoluted and began to blend together. My father would tell my brother and I that we would one day become men, whether by war or by experience. It was one of the few things that never changed. Always there, we would become men.

I never understood what my father meant. I was never suited for war and lived a life too spoiled to be hardened by experience. I, unlike my father, spent time in college. I learned through books, not the fog of war.

College was filled with few like-minded people and an overwhelming number otherwise. Parties failed to intrigue me. Straw-colored water flowed into plastic cups, I was lost.

One day I got a call from my father. We talked about my life and my schooling. I told him I could not stand the wasteland that lay before me. He told me of a concoction that would curtail my frustration.

It arrived in a box much too large. The precious liquid, guarded by glass and metal sat before me. I poured it. A little at first. A pale orange copper, billowy white head and pearly white lace greeted me with anticipation.

I put the liquid to my nose and inhaled. I could tell this was a very sweet brew, hops, spices (cinnamon), not unlike a summer day after it rains. Massive earthy aromas filled my nostrils.

Sweetness gives way to spices (cinnamon again?) and massive hops bitterness gives way to a dry, very mild alcohol spiciness. A lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue finishes this one off.
The sweetness of this beer was very pronounced as it warmed slightly. The hops, still ever-present, but the bitterness is somewhat cut by the extremely pleasant sweetness of the brew.

I finally understood what it meant to be a man.

Thanks to FeloniousMonk for hooking me up with this wicked awesome beer.

Photo of cokes
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There are people up in the Twin Cities that worship this stuff. Not just the normal, sit-around-and-proclaim-how-good-it-is type worship, but full-blown, black mass, hood-cloaked, blood-spilling, chicken-sacrificing worship.

To outsiders, it might seem ridiculous.
But once you've partaken, it all makes sense.

I, in fact, have testified before the alter of Masala Mama. The chamber glowed an orange shade of copper. Overhead the air was filled with dirty white, billowy smoke.

The hall filled with pungent hop incense. Grapefruit and pine with toasty malt backing. I expected this. But I was not ready for the fuzzy tangerine embrace that greeted me next.

Blindfolded now, I was thrown into a chair (or perhaps a barstool). I was already a bit compromised. But that mattered naught, it was now time to pay homage to Her.

They poured it down my throat without a moment for me to even brace myself.

Sudden bound enrapture!

Glorious bitter potion!

Malt and hop enchantment. Toasty witchcraft and orange-peel devilry. The finish lingers. For a minute and for eternity.
Branded by pine-fueled bitterness, tinged with grapefruit and resin, I was changed.
I was converted.

My mind swelled with each additional draught. So...right! Ripe oranges, fuzzy peaches, burnt toast and pine sap. Encased in a medium body that screams for gluttony.

Knowing I had fell sway to Her magic, the blindfold was removed, and I stared into the smiling faces of Bighuge and feloniousmonk. Both grinning because they knew they had won Her another disciple, and would be rewarded appropriately.

Photo of RedDiamond
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ah, the highly celebrated and widely touted Masala Mama. I'd looked forward to savoring this brew for quite some time and I'm now pleased to report that the hoopla (hop-la?) surrounding this beer is well deserved.

Mama pours with a good head of soapy white froth that leaves a superb trail of Belgian lace. The color is a radiant cinnamon. It has a potent hop body that is uniquely able to retain a solid essence of flavor without being overbearing or dense. So while the hop flavor is quite powerful, it is also crisp and bright, never dull or overbearing. My opinion of this standout feature is that the hop vitality is likely derived not merely from a selection of the right hops of exceptional quality in great abundance, but also from the laudable skills of the brewer who is able to combine these ingredients at the right moments and for the proper duration. This would account for a potent vanguard of flavor that floats gracefully across the palate like a ballerina, in contrast to some other "maximus" IPAs that push their flavor like a bulldozer. My conversation with the Minneapolis Town Hall's owner, a young gent named Peter, gave further concurrence to this notion.

I enjoyed a pint of Masala Mama on tap and returned two days later for a pint of the cask-conditioned. The cask-conditioned was served delightfully warm and offered an impressively delicate texture. It seemed I could actually feel the very lace of this beer on my tongue. The flavor was less bright than the tap Mama but still featured a full hoppy taste with a distinctive immediacy, a very relaxed body, and a compelling mouthfeel.

Photo of mikeys01
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh Mama...Mama I'm Comin' Home...Yo Mama Didn't Raise no Ugly beers...too many euphemisms to apply to this one. I received a super fresh growler of the Masala Mama courtesy of a trade with Tavernjef, and I am certainly glad to have tried it, and given that I'm most of the way through the growler, I must have liked it...OK enough banter, on to the beer.
Mama poured herself into my glass a scintillating orange copper/color piled high with two fat fingers of persistent off white foam...and we're not talking lacing here, we're talking full length curtains. Aroma is dripping with fresh hops, I picture myself wading through a fresh mown field on the verge of an evergreen forest...was that pine sap I just felt dripping on my shoulder? Taste is a stealthy assault of bitterness at first before blossoming into true hop glory, with myriad flavors of grapefruit, pine, and green grass. All that hop flavor is packed in without being overpowering or astringent. After getting over the hop blitzkrieg imparted in the first wave, a good sweet maltiness becomes apparent with just a hint of biscuit/Victory malt flavor. Finish brings back the bitterness and stays with you as a silent reminder that Mama's always watching. Body is medium to a bit thick for an IPA but the mouthfeel is smooth enough to make you cry for Mama. Flavors and complexity build as the Mama warms a bit, bringing out orchard peaches and other fruity esters. This stuff would be great on a hot summer day or, well any other time you can get it....damn good stuff.

Photo of jeffboo
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beautiful deep golden color with highlights of red and orange, topped with a thick, creamy yellow foam. The aromas of pine and grapefruit rind are floating above the glass, citrusy and resiny. It is medium bodied with good malt structure finishing with a very refreshing bitterness. The texture is sticky with hop oils and creamy malt. The hops dominate the flavor with grapefruit/orange rinds that blend with the malt backbone to give it a bit of spiciness. among the best IPA's I've had. A true hop nectar.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Please allow me to boost this fantastic beer up the charts of the BA Top 50...

I was lucky enough to be able to visit fellow BA AKSmokedPorter this past weekend and he was gracious enough to save the growler he got from feloniousmonk until I arrived. Two small swingtops made their way back to Virginia and I eagerly tapped these two vessels to personally experience this nectar of the (beer) gods.

This lovely brew poured a truly wonderful baked orange color with just a trace of lacing off-white head. The aromas were what you would sense when standing in a pine forest after a heavy rain...thick and weighty on the nostrils, these pine cones wedge themselves into every nook and cranny of you nasal passges to give you a awesome wake-up call. But who knew that grapefruits grew on pine trees? A fresh and brisk grapefruit spray squirts forth from this glass and catches you in the eyes and nose, coating the pine cones in a dreamy mix of hoppy beauty.

Flavor is over the top. There is a honey sweetness that builds the foundation for what will be a glorious ride across your palate. On top of that are about 40 bushels of sweet, fresh Georgia peaches. An amazing addition to the flavor profile. Cast in with these two is some pine sap and grapefruit juice. Bitterness is there, but in moderate levels, as it is balanced nicely by a doughy malt sweetness. Finish is sweet and dry, with another taste of grapefruit right at the end.

Mouthfeel is medium, no fizz in this one...and coating of the palate is fantastic.

Drinkability? Yes. Very balanced, yet each flavor is distinct and plays a vital role in making this beer what it is. It reminds me so much of an Imperial IPA, yet at 5.9% ABV, this is a beer you could shack up with for the whole night, and the next, and the next...

Note: Make sure you let this bad boy warm up quite a bit before you drink this. It was much better and really brought out the complexities of a stellar beer-drinking experience.

To close, I'd like to quote St. Victor from a Monty Python skit:

"This...is fantastic! Oh....this is terrific!"

Photo of garymuchow
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

To quote Christopher Walken in his SNL role as the continental,
"Wowwie, wow, wow, wow!"

There are a few hightlights to note, so I don't want to sound too repititious of all the other substantial and worthwhile reviews.
First, the aroma is wonderful in it's complexity, including grassy, sweet, citrus, flowery and a very fresh essence.
Second, the mouthfeel is sublime. Exceptionally soft, especially considering the boldness of the hops. The carbonation is very fine, as in the smallest bubbles one can imagine. At times this is such a noticable feature that it outweighs the favor.
Finally, the absolute highlight is the intial sweetness of the taste. Temperature is vital as it doesn't exist when too chilled. It starts at the lips and continues half-way through the tongue. It's honey sweet, but doesn't taste like honey. Others have mentioned apricot and mango, and those are closer. It's an unbelievably wonderful sensation. Personnally, as much as I like the finish it's the part I want never to leave.
The middle is a confluence of the ending of the malt and the start of hop intensity. From this point to the end many others can do as well, eg. SNCA, but that's not to minimize how good it is. The finish is hop intensity to the fullest, with less complexity than the aroma. The lingering is eternal. I believe this is the point that others have noted a lack of malt foundation, which may be true, but it's of less importance considering how one arrived at the moment.
Very attractice beer in color, a goldish amber with reddish/orange highlights. Fairly firm head with good lacing marking each drink.
Truly unique and enjoyable experience.
I strongly recommend temperature be considered and at least a growler be sampled (more than I pint at the least). The sublties are extremely important and this "wicked mama" really grows on a guy with experience.

Photo of ngandhi
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

All the west coast IPAs got together and met up in Minneapolis. They chatted, exchanged many pleasantries, but by night's end the weak were sent home and the strong fought to the death. We all know how tough IPAs can be; not one would concede defeat. They all died that night. The janitor, his name Pete, was left to mop the killing floor. Cascades here, Centennials there, Chinooks and their carcasses rotting holes in the floor. He sent everyone home, said he'd close up, and took the mop bucket in back. When folks came to work the next morning they smelled a bready funk in the air. There was a new brewery in town.

With a perfect citric/mango nose that implements all the greatness of West coast hops without ever being cloying or cliche, this smells like a brewer's wet dream.

On the tongue the beer (not the wet dream) is the smoothest IPA I've ever had and, excepting SN Celebration, the most complex. It's Two-Hearted without the butterscotch diacetyl, HopDevil with more body and resin, Stone Ruination without the phenolic bite. Deep with fruity hops, clean, unintrusive yeast, barely noticeable malt, and the right threshold for bittering with a lightly resinous finish, this is the American IPA. Though not as challenging, ultimately, as Celebration, nor as elegant as the British-influenced HopHearty, it's within arms length.

Most impressively, no matter how MM stacks up against other IPAs, there's nothing it can do to be better. Every now and then you get a beer that does what it should do and can convince you, no matter what your taste, that it has achieved its goals. This is one of those brews.

The finish is eternal. The hops are in church choir harmony. And I need to get my hands on their imperial.

Relax, relax.
ng

Photo of Jables
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**Arrived in Champaign on trade from FeloniousMonk**

Pours a dark hazy amber with a medium foamy white head.

Aroma has more going on than most I(1)PA's. Yeah it's got the typical citrusy hops and crisp notes that your average IPA has, but it does have more of them. What sets this one apart from other IPA's I've had is the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that are hanging out just above the surface. Slightly bready too so its like a snickerdoodle cookie, or a sweet dessert bread smothered in fresh citrus fruit. Wonderful stuff.

The flavor comes through with some great clean crisp citrus fruit and fruit rinds, but that isn't what impresses me. What impresses me is the bready backbone that pushes the flavor and accelerates it.

This isn't what I expected when I went to try it, no way.

This isn't a brew that is satisfied with showing off with all kinds of hops, no she's balanced, she's hip, she's got more going on than you thought she did when you ordered her. She's intimidating all of a sudden, she likes to take charge. Before you know it, she'll have you tied up to a bed with a blindfold on.

Or maybe that's just me.

Photo of jwilli7122
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What we've got here is a bonafide hop bananza

Pours medium clarity and orange...bright orange. not orangish brown, or copper or amber, but orange - the color of the fruit. if you wore this color deer hunting, you'd be legal.
Smell is hops - whole lot of different hop aromas - apricots and grapefruit, but some very bitter varieties also, all of them boisterous, fighting each other, making one big, spicy, fruity hop harmony.
Theres not a lot of flavor "balance" here. this beer is focused on hops. of course, that's not a bad thing. masala is spicy, but enjoyably mellow in the middle, fruity but not that sweet, sharp but smooth...pretty light on the malt flavors. very dry finish. no yeasty "earthiness," or really anything to compete with or take your attention from hops.
Not my favorite, but I understand why it may be yours.

Photo of Loki
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a 64oz growler on 3/18 with a best before date of 3/22 fresh from the brewery via the felonious one, too who I am now indebted.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear pure copper color with a huge off-white, bubbly head. Leaves thick webbing of lacing all over the glass. Even after time and near the bottom of the growler there is a thin covering of head.

Smell: Grass, hops, hops, and more hops. Fuggles, maybe Centennial, and more that I know, but can't quite separate. Scents of pine and musk with subtle hints of citrus and cloves. A plethora of American hop varieties make this beer come alive. Pure aromatic bliss.

Taste: Surprisingly sweet malt in the beginning. Then the hops smoothly slide in and glide through pine and hops into bitter finish with light hint of citrus. Fantastic and wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, medium body, little carbonation with a sticky finish.

Drinkability: All day, everyday and long, long, long into the night. Hell I'd have this with a spicy omelet for breakfast, in fact I think tomorrow I will.

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,261 ratings.