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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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1,235 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,235
Reviews: 664
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 828
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: 1,235 | Reviews: 664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Town Hall

I had this about half a year ago and thought it was fantastic. Half way through the first glass out of the growler, I was already wondering when I would get to have it again. Today is the day!

Orange/gold fluid, with just a touch of haze. Large, creamy, ivory colored head.

Hops are first impression. Big citrus and pine. Grapefruit & oranges. Next up is a crackery malt backbone.

Taste more than lives up to the nose. Big hops - citrus of all varieties - grapefruit, lemon and oranges. Sweetness follows, peach and fruits on a biscuity middle. Finish brings you back to a nice lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is just about perfect. Medium body, with medium + carbonation. Dry enough to keep you coming back for more.

Overall, an exceptional IPA. I have drank quite a few of them, and this one remains my personal favorite.

Photo of drseamus
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks very syrupy as it pours into the glass. The body is a cloudy dark amber color with no head. The aroma jumps from the glass and hits hard with citrus and caramel. The flavor has a bunch of bitterness with grapefruit and caramel in the background. The flavor is balanced, but is definitely bitterness dominated. This might be a bit too bitter for my taste, but a great example of an American IPA.

Photo of KingG
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade from jeffkrenner. Big thanks to him.

Appearance is very good. Large clumpy head forms off the aggressive pour with tons of lacing sticking to the glass. Glowing maroon/copper colored liquid with small amounts of sediment. For an IPA, this is a dark bastard.

Smell is good. Juicy citrus hops jump out and grab the nose. Pear, tangerine and ripe juicy plum. Nice.

Taste is very good. Once again, a large juicy hop profile with a lingering, grassy bitterness at the end. They blended the hops in this beer very well going with citrus and bittering creating a complex hop profile. Caramel malt is present but in the background, complementing the flavor nicely and yielding to the magnificent hop profile. Well done.

Mouthfeel is good. Slightly thin in the mouth due to below-average carbonation. However, the beer coats the tongue and cheeks nicely. Mouth-watering after every sip.

Drinkability is very good. If i had a keg of this, a few friends and i could easily put a nice dent in it.

Awesome IPA that has an addicting flavor. One of the better IPA's out there. Highly recommended.

Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't know about #9 on BA, but then again, I don't seem to think anything deserves to be in the top 10. I guess I'm just stingy. Still, this is an IPA for the ages. If someone needed one example of the great American IPA, Masala Mama could be it. To me it has a deep, rich grapefruit hops flavor complimented by floral hops. There's enough bitterness to catch up with any good hop head. It's a shame this isn't bottled

Photo of jwc215
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy reddish amber with a creamy head that descends to a lasting thin layer, leaving a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

The smell is of citrus and pine. A touch of herbal-like spice. Caramel backing it up. Very aromatic.

The taste is citric, piney, resiny. A touch of earthy herb. Sweet caramel backs up the hops, while keeping bitterness in the front.

Full-bodied and very smooth.

Flavorful and very easy-to-drink. It just disappeared, leaving a very nice taste in the mouth. A wonderful IPA with assertive flavors and quite a bit of balance. Nice.

Thanks to WankerWeasel for this treat!

Photo of oakbluff
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review is based on drinking from growler, but also had on cask and regular on tap from the brewery. First growler experience. Its like losing your virginity to a super model!

Colour- perfect, clear copper. Prototypical IPA colour. Fluffy off white head (which had excellent retention)
Nose- a fresh pine forest. Beautiful fresh hops in this one! The smell was the best part of this drinking experience. I could sniff it for days and days..
Taste- pine, citrus, juicy hops. There is a bitter dry finish, but not astringent. Solid malt backbone. Toasty caramel malts. Just enough to be balanced , but they know where the top billing is. Hops. Not sure what kind of hops- can only tell there is some (lots) high alpha acids suckers in it. Outstanding beverage and lived up to its high billing.

Photo of icemonkey908
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This has been on of my favorite beers for a while. My preferred serving type is definitely the cask. The beer appears golden yellow with a nice creamy head that remains as throughout the pint's duration. The smell is very hoppy -- hints of grapefruit, citrus, and pine. This is not a beer for someone who doesn't like hops. The taste closely follows the aroma but is nicely balanced with some malt flavors towards the finish. The cask conditioned variety exemplifies these qualities to a greater extent then keg variety and also provides a much smoother, richer texture. Without a doubt the best IPA I have sampled.

Photo of Brewfan
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired at DLD. Thanks to WarriorSoul for the nod in the right direction, and to MeLikeBeer for the growler. Kick ass!

Poured into my brand spanking new FFF Nonic glass purchased at the previously mentioned DLD.
Huge white frothy head with great retention. Abundant whispy lace. Murky semi-transparent orangish-lightly burnished copper color.
Nice nose. Grapefruity with a nice oily hop punch.
Huge hop taste. Quite bitter. Some maltiness makes it's way through, but the hops soon overtakes it at every sip. Citrusy pithy bitter. Piney and dry.
Big carbonation and a very dry finish. Lip smackingly drinkable.
I was expecting huge over the top flavors and aromas with this being a top 20 beer. What I got was a very solid, nicely drinkable American IPA. Nothing to be ashamed of there. Nothing at all.

Photo of Viggo
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to JeffKrenner for hooking me up with this for BC2 via Dark Lord Day! Served in a Town Hall pint glass from bax72 also from BC2. Thanks Chris and Jeff! Cap says 5-8 which I'm assuming means drink before May 8th, but I may be wrong.

Pours a very slightly hazy copper/orange, chunky white head forms, settles to a nice layer, tons of lace everywhere, looks really fantastic. Smell is heaveny, citrusy grapefruit, some pineapple, caramel, nice malts, very balanced, floral, bit of grass, very integrated, I think I get just a hint of chocolate malt too. Taste is very nice, like the aroma, nice caramelly malts, some pine, lots of grapefruity floral and citrus, very well balanced, and just the right amount of bitterness, bit of grassiness in the finish, very drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, little bit of warmth, but very smooth, perfect balance. One of the better IPA's I've had, kind of tastes like one of my own! Thanks again Jeff for providing this growler, its a great gift, and thanks to bax72 for the appropriate vessel!

Photo of kirok1999
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to akorsak again for a great trade at DLD. Pours a beautiful honey gold with a slight head and moderate lacing. The first smell that leaps out of the growler is grassy hops. Nice sweet malts follow.
Tastes wonderful, hops dominate, grassy, piney, and slightly citrusy. There is enough malt here to back up the massive hops, a very well balanced brew. Sweet caramel, grapefruit, grass, I feel like I just got done mowing the lawn.
Great IPA, well deserving of it's rank on this site.

Photo of ballenc
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler into an imperial pint glass.

A: Mostly clear, just a hint of haziness, a wonderful orange/copper/amber color with a one-finger, creamy white head. Beautiful light lace clings to the glass

S: A wonderful nose of hoppiness - coupled with some citrus and floral (piney) notes. Overall hops rule here but it does not overpower the sublety of the other flavors.

T: Wow - one of the better IPAs I've had in a long time. Hop forward on first sip, pine and citrus notes to mirror the smell. Exceptional balance at the end - smoothing out with caramel malt notes. No astringent or bitter aftertaste that many strong IPAs have - very clean which helps to pull you into it.

M: Moderate carbonation with medium body. Smooth and lighter on the tongue than what I expected.

D: This beer lives up to the billing/ranking it gets on this site. Truly wonderful IPA. I can see drinking several pints of this in one sitting. Barring that give me a couple growlers to enjoy at home.

Photo of aaronh
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Typical IPA appearance with orangeish body topped by a creamy head, but with a bit more sparkle than you typically see. The characteristic haziness form the hops is absent. This beer screams " I'm Special! " Aroma has a nice bit of what seems like Centennial hops, along with some other hop notes. No malt sweetness to speak of. Flavor is very bitter up front, with almost a dry, dusty feel. Very little malt backbone is present to support the onslaught of hops. Finish is also very dry. Mouthfeel is a bit astringent, and also gets a bit drying. This hurts drinkability as well. Over all a solid offering, but not in the upper echelon of IPAs for me personally.

Photo of Luchman
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler, thanks to Faro, into a pint glass.

A: A very clear, copper/amber color with a huge, foamy, off white head that sits on top.

S: Very pungent, but not just with pure 'hop juice' like most strong smelling IPAs. Pine and light citrus hops (grapefruit and a tad bit of pineapple) are found and smell amazing, with a hefty smelling caramel/bready malt. Awesome.

T: Mmmm.. Tasty. Pine is the leader here, followed by a hint of grapefruit. Balancing that all out is a nice dose of caramel malt with a nice 'breadiness' to it. Ends bitter and clean. Lovely..

M: Very smooth. Medium body with a medium/low level of carbonation that is, again, smooth and creamy.

D: Awesome stuff. I would happily pay for another growler (or two) of this. A very balanced IPA without the risk of being bland. Definitely the most 'drinkable' IPA I have tasted.

Photo of BlindPig
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Thick cream head that is very dense and has good head retention. Dark orange body that is very clear. Thick lacing that covers the whole top with bits sticking to the side of the glass.
S- Big pine hops mixed in with some big grapefruit hops as well. Few other fruits come through also. There is a decent size malt backbone to it also.
T-A blend of citrus and pine hops. The pine stick around leaving a nice dry bitterness around the mouth. The hop flavor just really sticks to all around the mouth. Grapefruit sneaks through the pine before it sets in. There is a decent malt body for all the hops to stand on.
M-Full body with low to medium carbonation.
D-I really like it but I think Blind Pig and Alesmith IPA are still the top 2. This would probably be my 3rd favorite though. I think it is very well balanced and just a great flavor. I could easily see my drinking a few of them if they were easier to get.

Photo of brdc
3.6/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to feloniousmonk - poured from a growler into my Victory pint glass. Appears a mildly hazy, dark copper color with a good inch of fluffy, off white head. Wonderful lacing on the inside of the glass as I make my way to the bottom. Smells of oily, resinous hops, with a nice aroma of rich caramel malt. Tastes of bitter citrus fruits such as grapefruit, and lemon as well as pine and sweet malts. Medium in both body and carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable especially at under 6%. This growler did not last very long. I look forward to trying this fresh from the tap one day. I'm assuming it must also be amazing on cask. Very nice. Highly recommended.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice hazy copper, with an off-white head and lacing is lovely. Very good looking beer for sure. Aroma is a bit different from tap, but in a nice way I suppose. Nicely malted still, caramels, pines and fruits, grapefruit and peach, not as much of a blow to the nose as on tap, but wonderfully subdued I suppose.

Taste, though, not as I remember it. I have to say first, I do'nt like IPAs on cask, and without the carbonation, I just don't recognize it. Not that it tastes bad... it tastes great in fact. The wonderful caramel in the nose comes moreso in taste, the pine and fruity hops battling for control, and the increadably smooth ride from cask makes this oh so great to drink. Just, different from the Mama on tap.

So, as the theme here goes, I'll be enjoying from tap from now on, but for those Real Beer fanatics out there, go ahead and have this one, its delicious.

Photo of sloejams
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious IPA. It ranks as the absolute highest on Beer Advocate. With American IPA being my favorite style I HAD to get my mitts on it, but Minnesota is a LONG way from Los Angeles. Thanks to beckje01 for making this happen.

DHL presented a bit of problem with the shipment and unfortunately it arrived a bit less than fresh. I could taste it too, sadly. That said for a beer not at its apex – this was still a fine fucking beer. I drank the growler in no time – because it was so delicious and because it seemed like every minute I didn’t drink it, its freshness would deteriorate that much more.

I really love these delicious IPA coming out of the Midwest: Bell’s 2 Hearted, Surly’s Furious and this. They all seem to have their own voice. I bombard myself regularly with the West Coast hopbombs out here. While they are delicious as can be, the lesser ones seem to get stuck in the mire of being unable to cross that “jam as many hops in as possible” lack of balance. The pine really shines through in this offering. What sets it apart is how magnificently balanced it is. It’s unbelievable. Man, I wish this was more fresh – I’ll be sure to review this again when I try it again. Fine beer.

Photo of RedHaze
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to fugazme for this growler.

Pours a dark amber with a dense one finger head that fades very slowly to a thick cap. The lace that's left behind nearly covers the entire inside of my glass.

Smell; lots of pine tree going on in here with some grapefruit, oranges and lemons all thrown as well. There's a nice bready, almost caramel malt presence in the background. As this warms the citrus aromas become much more pronounced.

Taste; The pine needle hops are very present in the flavor, as they are in the aroma, but the citrus is a bit more dominant. Grapefruit and orange peels, as well as a bit of lemons that ive this what I can only call a juicy quality. There's a bit of a sweet caramel as well as a toasted bread presence that kind of float around in the background, offsetting the hops just a touch, and adding a nice depth to this beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; the mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and seems the fit the hop profile of tis beer just about perfectly, and the drinkability is just incredible. I could easily drink this all night long, and I think I just might do that tonight. This beer makes me wish I lived closer to Minneapolis

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler Fresh of the truck and a two day ride from the Great White North. It's 5'Oclock somewhere so here is goes. Goes it's nice to have friends. Thanks to both of these conspirators NFLMVP and Objectivemonkey

The Beer pours a nice amber with amazing carbonation swirling around in a substantial amount of malt. The head is a big fat 2 fingers off white and leaves some lace.

The smell is Fat Hops and a detectable Malty sweetness.

The taste is very nice. Piney hops but I love the balance on a brew like this. One of the best IPA's I have had. This is Fat big time True it is not quite a DIPA but for an IPA this is this Malt man's IPA to be sure.

The mouthfeel is thick and sticky, almost chewable.

The drinkability is top shelf, How I would love to session this brew with a nice dinner and the Townhall. Prosit und Zum Wohl! MK

Photo of yam
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - a beautiful golden copper with a lovely head and long-lasting lace

S - citrus with a lovely flowery aroma -- crisp grapefruit (oxymoron?)

T - a tang of hops -- a cascade of sweet acidity with a malty background. A well structured beer with even flavors of hops and malt

M - a mouthfeel like like silk. Even in a growler, the carbonation pretty much matches the online feel.

D - as a decent example of the type, this is a fairly easy drinking beer.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to darkerthebetter for bringing a growler home with him from Minnesota to share while watching the Eagles beat the Giants. This is the 3rd time I have had this brew and it is always top notch. Nice color for a IPA with a simple hops nose. Very tasty in flavor and extremely well balanced. The thing about this beer is how easy it is to drink and its smooth mouthfeel.


Photo of Phatz
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a glorious and amazing treat; a lovely lovely brew. Much thanks is owed to akorsak for sharing this treat with us today. If Adam is going to keep sharing with us then CH3CH2OH, keep hookin him up =)

Appearance: Pours from the Growler a beautiful luminescent bronze into my friends Westvleteren chalice. Magnificent. The head settled to a frothy cap and then dispersed to a halo that lasted the duration of the beer.

Smell: A surprisingly sweet nose with caramel malts and grapefruit, and a juicy peach attribute.

Taste: Magnificently balanced hoppy beer. The sweetness behind all that hop is lead by caramel but then leans to a variety of fruits. Pinesap, orange, grapefruit and pineapple are all present in the bitter side, balanced by a bready sweet caramel malt backbone and a hint of toastedness. The aftertaste is pleasantly dry and lingers long after the beer passed through the palate. It seems have an equally interesting flavor delineation in the aftertaste as well.

Mouthfeel: Wow. The beer is smooth and sticky and yet in its chewyness it remains prickly and lively with all the hop pins & needles on the palate.

Drinkability: A pipeline must be built from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery to the water spigot on my refrigerator. I want to be able drink this beer day and night at my leisure. Why don't they bottle. Case after case of Two Hearted could allow room for Masala Mama to be inserted into my regular rotation, if it were available. EXCEPTIONAL!

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of akorsak
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A growler from a second trade with CH3CH2OH. It was shared with JohnnyM2002 and Phatz.

A: The ale is a copper red with hints of orange amber. The head has held up surprisingly well for a 12/28/06 (or so) bottled growler, large on pour before settling down to a white circle that covers the entire glass.

S: The aroma is big and hoppy, thick with lush pineapple and apricot. The aroma is huge and delicious, one of the best smelling pale ales (American, English, India or Double) that you'll come across.

T: The nose is big and hoppy, priming the drinker for a big hoppy ale, but Town Hall throws you for a loop. The body is a solid malty extravaganza, it doesn't roll over in front of the hops. The malty base is grainy and slightly sweet and provides an excellent base for the delicious hoppiness. The hops are citrusy, grapefruit, apricot, tangerine and most significantly pineapple. There is even a bit of piney sweetness popping up.

M: Hops! Malts! A well-mixed combination of the two, this IPA really brings everything together without amping up the alcohol and IBUs.

D: Incredibly drinkable. This really is the standardbearer for American IPAs. It mixes the big hops and strong malts so well. The moderate abv helps also, allowing one to have several pints without ill effect.

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a growler, shared with Akorsak and Phatz. Selected as my 200th review.

A - Poured a cloudy reddish-orange with a minimal head; left a nice white ring atop the hoppy goodness.

S - I can't imagine a better aroma from an IPA. Starts off with a combination of pine and floral notes, but it's balanced with a sweet and tart apricot flavor. Hoppy bitterness doesn't come racing out with the first few whiffs, but earthy hops are definitely present amongst the complex aromas. One of the best aromas from an AIPA I've ever experienced.

T - Right now I'm used to the kick-in-the-mouth hoppy blast from DIPAs, as that's what I've been drinking lately. So imagine my surprise when I take the first sip and instead of the insane hoppy punch, I notice a delicious - but complex - blend of floral hops and sweet fruit. The hoppy bitterness is well-balanced with the apricot and grapefruit flavors...sort of a sweet tartness that counters any bitterness very nicely. Upon the finish, I get almost a hoppy/caramel aftertaste, which also caught me by surprise. Wonderful combinations of flavors.

M - Medium body with a creamy finish...goes down very nicely.

D - Beer was very-well preserved in the growler and it did not disappoint. A strong start that was solid the whole way down...never pass up an opportunity to pick this one up!

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.