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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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1,080 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1080
Reviews: 654
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.17%

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:
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 added by: Jason on 01-01-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 1,080 | Reviews: 654 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of weeare138


4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to tavernjef for this growler!

Appears an amber orange with lots of foamy white head. Plenty of nice lacing on the top as well. Nice carbonation as well. Plenty of hops in the nose. Not a whole lot of maltiness in there but the hop overtones are one to be reckoned with. The smell is actually quite adictive. Lots of citrusy sweet notes. Tastes plenty hoppy. Not too overkill and blended nicely with a bitterness that hits you from the first sip with a bit of an odd linger that isn't too obtrusive from the brew itself. Mouthfeel is pretty nice but it's just missing that hard malt backbone that so many great IPA's and IIPA's have worked into their regiment. This is certainly a drinkable beer. I had a few pints with my friends and we wished that we had more. Oh well, it is what it is. My only complaint is that it could use more malt to back her up. Other than that...

Finger licking good.

Serving type: growler

05-03-2005 18:03:23 | More by weeare138
Photo of meathookjones


4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is from a growler courtesy of Stubob. Cloudy amber body with tall off white head that stand strong for the life of the pint as it slowly collapses. Huge clumpy rings of lace covered the glass. Wow, the insane hoppiness coming out the glass was evident as I was pouring this. Big citric and floral hops dominate this swallowing up almost all traces of malt. Flavor was very bitter upon the first sip with hops kicking the crap out of my tongue the whole way. Citric and some earthy tone hopes with piney notes were strong from the first sip to the last. Big dry bitter after taste lasted forever and left you feeling like some one dragged a rake across your tongue. Simply wonderful. Solid mouthfeel that was alive with hop prickliness. Very drinkable stuff in that punishingly bitter IPA kind of way. I made the mistake of having the last glass from the growler with some jalapeño pizza and buffalo wings. I don’t think I tasted breakfast the next day. Great stuff and a big thanks to StuBob for the chance to try this.

Serving type: growler

05-02-2005 20:29:26 | More by meathookjones
Photo of Higravity


4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this from StuBob, thanks buddy.

I stuck the growler in the fridge for about a hour and a half as I plant a crap load of flowers and watered everything. I was parched and came in, washed up, and hit the fridge for a drink. I saw the Mama looking at my and I was sold as I can always drink an IPA. Well being so thirsty the first sip straight from the growler ;) about took my head off, such overwhelming hops it reminded me of the time I sipped at hop extract. Wow, I need to drink some water and eat to enjoy this beer.

Well this beer starts off as a light amber with a head of pure white fluff that last all the way down leaving lots of lace. The nose is a blend of hops from spicy to citrus very little malt coming though. The taste is pure hop and the malt is mostly lost but there is a little crystal poking its head through. As this is balanced to the hops the flavors are layered, there are plenty of deep bittering that lingers from sip to sip, but the flavors of the beer are of pithy citrus with a spicy sweet riptide that fades back to the deep bittering. This could of had a little more of a body and more of a malty character to balance, but I like the presentation of the hops that really make this beer shine and make you not even care about the malt. This makes a great session beer and I already miss her, my Mama.

Serving type: growler

04-27-2005 13:05:35 | More by Higravity
Photo of Frozensoul327


3.8/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

Serving type: growler

04-22-2005 22:43:29 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of tavernjef


4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this so many numberous times from growlers and fresh right at the pub, thought perhaps it was time to do a review for the tapped version as the casked version is different but just as good if not better on-tap.

This is from a fresh growler:
Softly dulled bronze color, with a fine and firm capping of ivory hued foam. Head grows consistent and vigorously to a fine foam of puff. Gets bumby and moon-surfaced as it crumbles down slowly. Keeps a fine hazey skim and a load of thickly set lacing closer to the top of the liquid as the rest from towards the top is placed in light webby strings.

Now I've had a super fresh batch and the aroma first off the tap was awesomely peachy and loaded with hoppy goodness. This time around the aroma has been softened by alot from what I know what its capable of. So for now, I lower my number due to its softer touch. Gotta go with ya got. Still quite pungent though, just not as peachafied as those first tappings. What I do like is its fine crispness, very sharp and lofty with a big toasty malt showing its side of things on this day. The rest is made up of some very fresh pine thats fairly resinous. Tinges of orange sweep up along with a few bits of grapefruit and partailly heated hop dust.

The taste is what I've come to love about this beer. Supurb cleanness, carefully bittered, well balanced, citric and toasty. Those fresher batches tend to bring out the peach tones alot more, as does the cask offering, but this still rocks my world. Lovely toastyness, creamy, soft, caramel is slippery within. Buttery biscuits among the toasted stuff. But those hops really just make a nice accompanyment and entice the buds into a ballet of tongue dancing delight. Well placed and quite pungent pine resin grabs with an intense but evenly handled bite with great nuances of citrus tones leading into heavier orange and slighter grapefruit rinds and juices. This time around - very, very slight hint of peach in the creamier areas in the middle where the toasty stuff floats off. But other times I've had this the peach has really pushed forward as the dominate fruit and I love that even more then what it is now. Still... this....This is quite tasty.

Body is nearly full, great crispyness; clean, toasty, creamy in the middle, bittered with juicy citrus and pine, but not overloaded so as to burn the tonsils out the back of your throat. Its feverant, but mellowingly bittered. And as always, way to drinkable. So much so, this could possible be liquid crack for some folks out there. And as Hugey states, I too have yet to recieve a faultered pint full or growler full of this stuff. The peach tones weren't as present this time around, but when it does, it just adds another wave of magic to this already fantastic IPA.

Notes of difference: Cask body is fuller and more rounded where the edges blurr with hops and warmth. Cask tends to be more set with fruitier juices and bitterly tamed. Tapped body is cleaner and crisper with more edgeyness to the hop profile and with its bitterness it tends to give a sharper return quicker. Where as the cask version is more gradual in the hop profile and warming.

The tapped Mama is always available so when its on-cask, try em both side by side, you'll have lots of fun comparing and contrasting each of their subtlities.

Serving type: growler

04-16-2005 00:53:08 | More by tavernjef
Photo of mentor


4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler provided by tavernjef...thanks so much! Reviewed the same day I received it. Growler opens with a gentle hiss and the beer pours a nice 2 finger creamy tan yellow head over a slightly cloudy amber liquid. It had a hint of the guinness-like carbonation settling to the top. Smells of gentle citrus with some rough grassy cohumulone character, too. Grapefruit and lightly lemony, with something of a cotton candy smell that I associate with Amarillo hops (at least that's how Amarillo comes across in my homebrew). It has a very oily and aromatic flower smell. Noticable apricot and possibly some other fruit smells. Tastes caramel sweet to start then quickly shifting to the hops. Bitter. Very bitter, but then I get distracted by a malt sweetness that emerges and the grapefruit of the hops. Great combination that leaves me chasing it and wanting more. I'd better oblige. The sugar in the middle/end of the swallow is very interesting. It's almost got a crystaline quality about it. The next gulp I catch the combination a bit more clearly and then realize that in my first few gulps, I missed a nice fruity and malty that comes in at the end. It's a dry fruity and is mixed with a grassy feel on my tongue and a great aromatic oily floral. Hey, this is two beers in one! Medium mouthfeel that could be medium-thick...it's hard to tell because the ending is dry and a potent hop bitter hangs around. It's grapefruit-like, but has a flatness to it. Some qualities of oranges, plus the sense that I sunk my feel into orange rind (like when you need a scar in the rind so you can start peeling it). Works well to announce the gulp is over and it's time for another, but I kinda like some dancing malt and fruit to make me ponder each gulp. Okay, deep into my second glass here and a sweet malt is winning over the sharp end as an aftertaste. Plus, pardon me, even the burps taste good. Md to Md-thick mouthfeel and with moderate carbonation. I think the carbonation adds a bit of an acrid that amplifies the hop bitter and a tang that I've just now detected. Hmm, what is that tang? I'd better pour a third glass and see. Please pardon me if my spelling goes awry. That tang is not entirely pleasing, but I can't get a fix on it, so I'm intrigued. Perhaps some green apples and straw? Okay, enough. I'm about three beers to the wind and done with this review. This was definitely a challenging beer to dissect. Even the less desirable characteristics had some features that kept me guessing and wanting more to put my finger on. I guess I have to take that road trip to Minneapolis after all. Maybe they'll let me fill a 5-gallon cornie keg rather than a bunch of growlers.

Edit: They just e-mailed back. Filling my 5-gallon keg would violate state laws/regulations. Oh well, can't hurt to ask.

Serving type: growler

03-20-2005 12:24:36 | More by mentor
Photo of ppoitras


4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled and provided in trade by StuBob. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, a dense, frothy 1" beige head formed over the cloudy, orangey amber brew. Head fades slowly, and leaves nice, heavy lacing. Aroma is a tinge of sweet malts, quickly overpowered by bitrusy hops character. Taste as well starts with sweetness, but overshone promptly by the hoppiness. Had hoped for a tad more citrus over the tongue, and a little less in the bitter department, but that's almost quibbling. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent. I can only imagine what this is like at the source. Maybe someday...

Serving type: growler

03-18-2005 00:46:52 | More by ppoitras


4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sweet smelling nose with a note of honey, and the definitely expected floral behavior.
This pours quite the lively active head, with dimples and lacing galore. The nectar itself has a pale amber color. All things said, she's a looker.
On first sip, my initial reaction was "wow this is a bitter motherfucker". Pine sap is just all over the place. Resinous as all get out. There was a bready yeasty middle ground to this thanks to some malting. But, it's all about hops, boys and girls. And Masala Mamasita lets you know. But what I found most interesting was that this has a hop character and flavor reminiscent of some of my favorite DIPAs, but the body and ABV of a typical pale. It's light in the mouth and all that shit. This makes it easily a double agent...summer quencher/winter blanket. Do what you will.
I had this at the Great Taste of the Midwest in august and thought "not bad, but what's the big deal?" Well, that's why folks shouldn't attempt reviewing at beer fests. This stuff is kick ass.
Thanks to MoeSizlak for arranging this. Good call.

Serving type: growler

02-10-2005 16:25:25 | More by GIVEMEBACKMYSON
Photo of necoadam


4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1/2 gallon growler.

Poured out a musty orange color with a few hints of very light red mixing in as well. A nice head that also stays with you for quite a while.

Smell was outstanding. The first thing you'll notice is the huge fruit notes in this beer. Big pine aromas as well. And of course, a good hops are also in the nose.

Taste was quite good. This beer has a huge malt backbone to it. A lot of toasted malts with a nice hop and citrus taste on top of the malts. Quite a bit of toffee also in there that mixes in towards the middle and the end. But towards the end it just gets hoppy and more hoppy. Some pine flavors also mix in the aftertaste. Not bad at all.

Mouthfeel was medium and the carbonation was quite good considering it was sitting in the fridge for 2 and a half weeks. This held up quite nicely.

A damn fine IPA. The drinkability is high since it's less than 6%, but the flavors are everywhere and balanced nicely.

Many thanks to the Monk for sending it this way.

Serving type: growler

01-03-2005 15:40:51 | More by necoadam
Photo of alexgash


5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes.
Had this several times this last summer while in Minnesota and I still cannot get over how perfect it is. I already was a rabid fan of *regular* Masala Mama, but I have found that when it is on cask it is even better. First of all, I think that it just simply looks slightly better. The almost-hazy, soft golden-copper-brown body simply glows at this [cask] temperature. The creamy, off-white head floats effortlessly above, with an unwavering one-inch cushion. The smell and taste are very similar to the on-tap version, which is to say they are perfect. If anything, the cask Mama smells and tastes even more balanced. The malt seems to come out a little more. The mouthfeel loses some carbonation, but gains a little creaminess. Where the cask-conditioning really adds is in the drinkablity. Wow. It's hard to be picky with such a fine ale, but given the choice, I'll take the cask (I mean both).

Serving type: cask

11-30-2004 00:41:09 | More by alexgash
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy full copper color that has some amber notes to it. The beer is well carbonated and forms a giant pale tan head. The aroma is all hops with notes of grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, and pine. Basically this has a proto-typical fruity American hop nose to it, as I sniff some more I might just sense some malt here as well.

This has a very nice flavor to it, it is light on the palate, yet packed with flavor. It is lightly sweet in the middle, which helps to accentuate the citrus-fruit hop notes. This beer is eminently drinkable, it is not too heavy and I could easily drink a few pints of this (for instance 64oz of this, thanks Garymuchow for the growler). This beer has great notes of tangerine, ruby-red-grapefruit, orange, and hints of apricot and lemon. What a simple wonderful beer, this beer is all about the hops, yet it has enough subtle malt notes that this is not just an astringent hop juice. The malt is here it just supports and accentuates the hoppiness. This is certainly eminently drinkable, and though quite hoppy still quite balanced for an IPA. There is nothing new or unique here flavor wise, but that is not the point of this beer. As every IPA should be this is a mouthful of an American hop celebration, that just keeps on rocking from start to lingering finish. This beer is a nice easy drinking, eminently quaffable, hopaliscious beer that I am quite happy to have a growler of. I could definitely see how this beer would grow on me if I had continuous access to it.

Serving type: growler

11-14-2004 20:30:37 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of fdrich29


4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1/2 Gallon Growler. Received Friday, Novemeber 5th. Opened Sunday, November 7th. Finished Tuesday, November 9th. "Enjoy By 11-11" sticker on the back of the growler. (Would have been consumed earlier if it wasn't for a little get together the Bro's threw in Boston that Saturday).

Much thanks to Feloniousmonk for the growler and ending my want to try this esteemed brew.

Amber, hints of blood red when held up to the light. Huge, frothy, sticky head that leaves it's lacy trail all the way down the glass.

Smells of oily hops and dandelions.

Huge sweet hops taste. Some pine and caramel flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium body, rich, creamy and a bit chewy. An enjoyable drinking experience.

So smooth and easy to drink, I'm surprised the growler lasted as long as it did. Well deserving of it's rank among the Best of BA. This one exceeded my alreay sky high expectations.

Serving type: growler

11-10-2004 02:24:41 | More by fdrich29
Photo of donnebaby

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick, sticky off-white cream is thick up the glass and flakes all over. Body is a dark copper. Nose held lots of flavor--sweet and fruity, lots of passionfruit and something that I could only call "candy hops". In the mouth, it's a little on the sweet side, with more of that passionfruit and candy hops--which this time seemed more like "liquid hops"--a full mouth of fresh, liquid hops. Dry and chewy--but very fresh. Sweetness in the mouth reminded a bit of apple cider. Totally smooth and complex IPA. I liked this better than Hop Devil, which was my preferred IPA up til I had this.

Serving type: cask

10-29-2004 16:47:23 | More by donnebaby
Photo of kmcnair


4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a growler courtesy of none other than felonious monk. Thanks for the sample!

Dark copper to amber hue making a thin white head, creates a nice lacing down the glass. Aroma is loaded with west coast hop character and a hint of sweet caramel. Tastes very fresh and loaded with in-your-face hoppiness. Spicy biterness up front and followed by citrusy west coast infused hop attack. As I get closer to the bottom of the glass and my tastebuds are becoming increasingly numb to the huge acidic hop profile a velvety caramel malt character starts to poke through. Smooth on the palate, medium bodied and finishes very dry. This fits the bill for an American IPA, for me it ranks right up there with the west coasters that I consume often.

Serving type: growler

10-10-2004 00:32:27 | More by kmcnair
Photo of budgood1


4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours out of the half gallon growler a darker shade of amber, slightly hazy with a thin, fine, tan head. slight rings of sticky lace as i sip. aroma of toasted, biscuity caramel malts with an intense flair of lemon and grapefruit zest and spruce hopping. upon first taste, the intense hopping and bitterness are front and center...piney and citrusy...and unapologetically bitter. the malt profile seems to be balanced with the style; biscuity and toasted...sweet and sugary, with a caramel malt base not unlike a regional o-fest i overimbibed in this past weekend. this is a big beer, with a full body and rounded, oily mouthfeel. one can detect the alcohol after a few sips...it compliments the rest of the brew quite nicely...slapping you after having been punched in the gut by the resinous hops. the lingering, loitering hop flavour and bitter aftertaste is long and longer. this is a hop heads dream. what impresses me is the multi dimensional hop profile...covering every angle of hopping flavour and bitterness. more pine than citrus; more bitter than balanced...it's an assault upon your taste buds. very nice and very worthy of the praise it deserves...the best hop profile of any ipa i've sampled to date.

a massive thanks to feloniousmonk for this sample! delivered on the eve of my wedding weekend by my sister and enjoyed after the smoke and haze has cleared on a monday night. wow.

Serving type: growler

10-05-2004 01:27:40 | More by budgood1
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler (it Forward)

A hefty initial head of three plus fingers of bone china froth. Outstanding lacing. Hazy dark orange body. It's an inviting beer.

Very nice grapefruity nose. Bit of hop resin. Sorta seashoe reminescent. Somewhat one dimensional though.

Hops hit right at the start with this IPA. The malt is backpedaling for a foothold the moment it enters the ring. The malt is there, it just takes a while to get established. After that, you notice it on alternative sips. Meanwhile, the hops are coating the inside of the mouth from the roof, down the insides of the cheeks and hitting the tongue from above and below. As it warms, avery nice fruitness emerges.

Mouthfeel is good, but a couple tastes seemed a slight watery. Not enough to be considered a flaw by any means. And this disappears completely as the beer warms.

Drinkability is very good. The only reason why the growler may not be drained tonight is that it's late, I'm tired and have to be up early.

Recent site activity has raised expectations sky high. Summing up: a very good to excellent IPA. Needs some more malt to match up with Celebration or Hop Devil, or a more varied hop profile to match this year's gem, Smuttynose, but I'd gladly revisit this and urge others to do so.

Thanks F'monk.

Day Two:

A pleasantly surprising sturdy though of course smaller head.

A bit more maltier. The hops haven't faded, simply more balance.

The next day brings a beer that may even be a little better than day one. Certainly one that a day in a cracked growler did no harm a all. Another plus in the ledger for this fine beer.

Serving type: growler

07-10-2004 04:03:35 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First let me thank garymuchow for getting this fine brew to my doorstep served from the Town Hall 1/2 gallon brown growler with a plastic heat sealed layer for protection. Appearance: Pours a deep caramel amber crystal clear hue with an amazing tannish head forms thick leaving heavy intricate patches of lacing, very nice. Aroma: Copiously hopped lines my nostrils with aromatic grapefruit and pine cone scented hops, all topped off with a fortified caramel nut edge completely amazing. Taste: Flavor consists of a lucious juicy hop profile with a malty backbone to balance her out. Talk about hops, man the nut edge evens out a perfect amount of sweetness from the malts but the waves of grapefruit and pine swarm the palate with a rush of bitterness making the finish completely fantastic leaving me, the drinker with hop burps. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied resinously textured what a lucious body even perfect carbonation can't ask for much more, I'm satisfied. Drinkability: Wonderfully flavored with massive hops and a unique malt character holds a spot as the best American IPA I have ever tasted. The sessionability of this brew is unlike any other waxed off a growler with two fellow BAs (beergeek279 and cupbeerman) and wow I was yearning for another to exist.

Serving type: growler

07-02-2004 20:00:50 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of bditty187


4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mildly hazy, tawny-gold-brown in hue, it was served with a slightly off-white head that was a finger in height. The head retention was very good, after a long while it faded to a frothy cap. The subsequent lacing was sticky and widespread. On cask, this is a beauty of a beer! The nose, on cask, is much softer but much wider. The malt is heard more clearly; still the pine and citrus from the hops are loud but far more balanced, not only in comparison to the malt but also to each other. The nose still says IPA. Inviting. The palate is lovely, the hops are so wonderfully blended, the piney notes are not bright but they are wide. The citrus notes are very sticky which seems to act like a spider’s web that captures (okay, attracts) more malty flavors with hints of caramel and some sweetness. The aftertaste is lighter but, again, the pine is the focal point. This is amazingly tasty on cask; it is very relaxing; I mean what a great pint to chill with. There is ample flavor construction and it is complex for an IPA. Lovely stuff on cask (I’ve I became a broken record?)! Medium in body with a creamy mouthfeel with typical cask condition qualities, it was served at the ideal temperature. This is amazingly drinkable and almost perfect on the palate. This IPA has received a lot of press, some good, and some bad, some utterly insane. Folks, live at the brewpub this beer is great and on cask, it is unparalleled. Highly Recommend (on cask)!

Serving type: cask

06-28-2004 15:23:10 | More by bditty187
Photo of Jason


3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Serving type: growler

06-10-2004 21:54:02 | More by Jason
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Serving type: growler

05-30-2004 18:34:48 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Serving type: growler

04-25-2004 02:54:59 | More by Sammy
Photo of LuckySevens82


4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Serving type: growler

04-15-2004 02:30:47 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of RedDiamond


4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Serving type: cask

04-07-2004 18:41:17 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


4.93/5  rDev +13.1%
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!"

Serving type: growler

03-31-2004 02:31:01 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of Loki

North Carolina

4.95/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: growler

03-18-2004 00:12:39 | More by Loki
Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 1,080 ratings.