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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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1,207 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,207
Reviews: 661
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 830
Gots: 62 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Masala Mama India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,207 | Reviews: 661 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrewMaster
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark golden to copper color with a dense tan head. Light carbonation billows from the bottom. Slightly cloudy with slippery lacing sliding down the glass.

Smell: Earthy and vegetable scents from the hops. Some piney and faint floral notes backed by a bit of malty sweetness.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The hop flavor dominates the beer. Sweet malty base that shines only briefly before being overpowered by a very earthy, bark-like hop flavor. The hop flavor is gritty and even sandy in a raw sense. Very green and vegetal. The flavor tastes fresh and oily but a bit out of balance.

Drinkability: This beer is readily drinkable and pairs well with the appetizers at Town Hall, particularly the wings. Tasty and fresh.

BrewMaster, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of hanco005
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler

A—dark amber color with 1 inch head, leaves a wonderful lacing down to the last drop of the 1st pint, beautiful

S—nice floral and hoppy combo; a little spicy and pine aroma as well and some grapefruit tones as well. I can’t wait to taste it!

T—speechless. Simply awesome. Wonderful bitterness with malt and hops bursting through. Citrus grapefruit and with a slight sweetness at the beginning followed with the best bitter finish that I have ever had. I can’t say enough

M—creamy, thick and delightful.

D—The beer is outstanding! Everything I have from MTH has been outstanding. Put this one on your must do list when in the Twin Cities!

hanco005, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of CultureJamMN
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me begin by saying, I am not a hop-head. I generally find IPA's passable, and then only in summertime. That said, I couldnt stand this beer at all. And that's exactly why it's so good.

My review is based on what I know IPA to be, and while I may not like them, I know a good one when I drink one, and this is a VERY good one.

The color on this beer is sort of like a peach skin, darker than many IPA's. Nice head, retained well, and the lacing was fantastic.

The hops come screaming out in the nose, but there is a fruityness here, citrusy, but also of maybe peaches.

The taste is hoppy, very hoppy... with the citrus and peach coming on strong. There is a piney/juniper thing happening here too. There is some malt in the finish which is pleasing for this non-hophead.

As for mouthfeel, it was on the light side, but not thin. This would make a great summer beer for hopheads... seriously, if you love hops, and IPA's, find a way to drink this beer.

CultureJamMN, Jan 25, 2006
Photo of edbeered
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask at the brewpub, this brew cascades beautifully and settles into a pleasing orange amber hue with a quarter inch thick smooth white head. There is a pronounced hop smell. While there is not the profound hop explosion of the cold version, this beer features a pleasing sustained resiny and piney hop presence perfectly balanced by a smooth malt backing. The creamy mouthfeel is exceptional. A classic American IPA.

edbeered, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Pint glass pour with a dim clear orange topped with craggy 1/2" khaki head cap that leaves plenty of startus layers of lace in the glass.

The best aspect of this brew is the huge aromatice hop blast and floral bouquet in the nose. So good that I want to jump in. Citrus orange and bright. I could smell this all day long and into night.

First swigs: Piny juicy floral with a touch of Earthy balance from the malt. (Reminds me a lot of 90 minute) Finishes with a tart lemon

This is a thick feel with a full bodied IPA that really puts it into a 2IPA category but I ain't here to debate.

Last swigs: Mature dark grainy hoppy balance. I seriously was shaking before I ordered this. It was the last beer of three for the night. I hoped to save the best for last) Excellent!

Beer is good. Happy hoppy beering.

blitheringidiot, Jan 05, 2006
Photo of woodychandler
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This arrived with a big, fluffy, white head with a lot of bubbles coming to the top. I continued to note a beautifully floral hoppy nose. The mouthfeel was thicker and more effervescent on the palate. The hops were still up front and in your face, but tempered a little bit by the carbonation. The finish had that nice burst of malt that stood in utter juxtaposition to the combination sledgehammer/blind file of hops that slugs you, pulls your tongue out of your head with a pair of pliers, and begins running back and forth like a cheese grater. Waitress, another please.

woodychandler, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer came a clear orange-ish brown. The head was a frothy light tan that left little lace.

Smelled of dry pines and fruity nectarine and pineapple with a dry sandy malt.

Tasted predominantly of sappy pine with a smooth and subtle caramel and chocolate base with dry fruits mixing into the pine.

The mouth feel was very light with a medium amount of tiny sharp carbonation.

A good beer, but I should have had this one before its cask conditioned sister.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew is bronze in color. The head is creamy, solid, and white, and stays about one-finger high until the glass in drained. The aroma is citrusy with pine and oranges peaking through. The taste is amazing. It is a perfect balance of citrus and pine flavors with a solid, but not too harsh, bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth. Overall, this is the best all around IPA I have had to date. All other IPAs seem to either be all citrus or all pine. Masala Mama is both.

KarlHungus, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of clvand0
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a nice head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is all hops - citrus and pine hops dominate. The flavor is much the same - lots of hops. The US hops in the flavor are countered with a decent caramel malt background, but it could use a hint more. The mouthfeel is medium and the drinkability is pretty good.

clvand0, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of rajendra82
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery located in the Twin Cities, this growler came to me via BA feloniousmonk. The seal had obviously held up, as the beer came out with a nicely swirling fine carbonation forming a lace bearing eggshell white head, which was thin, but rich. The beer itself was rather clear, with an attractive copper amber color, which was a shade darker than the run of the mill IPA. The aroma was very good at the time of the pour, and got better as the beer warmed up. The smell was that of flowery, spicy, and citric hops, that were strong without being over the top. The sweet honeysuckle smell of the underlying malt base was permitted to shine through faintly as well.

Taste was unabashedly bitter and peppery with no qualms about the hyper hopped nature of the drink. The malts were caramel, and only there to prop up the hop fireworks going on in my mouth. I love when a brewer self assuredly brews a beer to take its rightful place in the world, and this is a mighty example of this. The soft tropical mouthfeel, dry palette, and leafy bitter aftertaste, all go on paint a cohesive and harmonious picture. I no longer thought a single IPA could wow me, but this one does. Utterly spectacular.

rajendra82, Nov 19, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a deep copper color wit ha finger of head that falls to a half finger over top with a modest lacing as it falls. Nose is sweet sweet citrusy, resinous hops with a very solid deep sweet malty backbone. Flavor is a fine balance between sweet citrusy hop flavor, sweet caramel malt and a very modest peppery bitter that hangs on the finish, but very pleasingly. Feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carbonation of fine bubbles. This beer would be in my fridge every day of the year if I could have it that way. I don't think there is a more balanced American IPA out there. Great beer.

kmpitz2, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brownish copper pour surprises by its darkness, but the generous beige head compensates any ill thoughts. Fully malty nose offers a broad range of varied dark malts aromas, caramel and fitting butterscotch being omnipresent. Strong biscuity feel. The hops, in that regard, are not the prime focus, but just a half of the couple, procuring mostly earthy, anise-like notes that evolve into leafiness in mouth. Quite sweet for an IPA, obviously rather round, more citric in mouth than the nose would let know and definitely less fruity. Expertly hidden alcohol and no astringency join forces to explain the desirable reputation. Reminds me of stuff like Nogne O Batch 100 for its sheer barleywineish malt orientation. Still very tasty and appealing though, a different take.

Rastacouere, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Despite my really high marks for this beer, I can't help to feel somewhat underwhelmed by this beer's reputation. Don't get me wrong. This is a great beer. A great IPA. But it's quality, albeit high, has been outstripped by its reputation. Bell's Two Hearted, for example, can easily go toe to toe with this one.

The name for this syndrome is "you can't get this, it is soooo good."

Good amber color. Really nice frothy head. Smell is really good. Piney and grassey hops. American hops I surmise. Taste is like the nose, but clean.

Super mad props to blitheringidiot for sharing this with us folks back in Philly.

GeoffFromSJ, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of jamesdergen
3.48/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

jamesdergen, Oct 11, 2005
Photo of hero27
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

½ gallon growler.

Took home a growler from the brewery...after sampling it again on cask (which still deserves a 5, in my book). The hops are more predominant on-tap, both in aroma and flavor...they really jump around on the tongue. Absolutely yummy.

Not quite as smooth as on cask, but still delicious. Unless you're allergic to hops, you must try this brew...and I personally think it's even worth it if you were..it'd be one helluva way to go.

hero27, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of Oxymoron
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the brewery in Minneapolis. Masala Mama had an amber color with a slight cloudy haze. About the normal color of a IPA if not maybe slightly darker. There was a big o’frothy head which left a good amount a lacing throughout the tasting. The head retention was excellent and remained the whole time. The smell was super hoppy with strong notes of grapefruit and pine. A big floral nose with no doubt of being an IPA. This really is very noticeable and even more impressive as its not an double IPA.

Have you heard of James and the Giant Peach? This was Aaron with the Giant Hops. The hop flavor was very pronounced for an IPA (would have been nice for a double IPA). There was a slight bite at the top and very tingy but replaced by a sweet hop aroma. I would say some magnum and amarillo are represented here. A bit of an oily aftertaste is noticeable which I felt was a little over the top. The hop mixed the citrus and grapefruit flavor very well, which is difficult for a lot of IPA’s. The huge hop flavor overshadows the malt though. The malt backing was surprisingly better then expected but is overshadowed and made slightly pungent due to the oiliness of the hops. The sweet malt flavor extenuates the knock out hop flavor though. Maybe some hints of caramel too. Overall, very impressive hop taste but just over the line with the oiliness to it.

The body was very good for the hoppiness of this beer. As you continue to drink Masala it becomes smoother and smoother. Really this was a fantastic beer and worth the praise.

Oxymoron, Sep 14, 2005
Photo of lostbearbrew
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

tavernjef sent me a growler of this just in time for me to take it to NC to share with my brother. THANK YOU! Let's start by saying- wow, what a nice treat, and it held up very well against (in fact, shone brighter than) Titan IPA, HopHog, Alesmith IPA - all also sampled over the weekend.

Rich copper pour with thick head. Superb lacing - lots of fun to see those patterns in my glass.

Aroma seemed wonderous for a single IPA. Really nice blast of hops hits first, and then a balance of sweet smelling malt rounds out the experience.

Well, after the smell, we both expected the beer would taste good, but damn Sam, this was heavenly - a great balance between the hops and the malt, which became even more apparent as the beer warmed in the glass.

Mouthfeel is almost creamy in the finish, and features a medium-light body. Carbonation level, even being in a growler, is really good.

Drinkability - well, do you need to ask?!? Holy cow - if this were available in GA, I'd be knocking em down left and right. Tremendous beer out of a state not often the first to come to mind when you think of brewpubs - however, this is one fine offering - might be the best single IPA I've ever had. Really does rival the Alesmith IPA and the Alpha King and a few others I love.

Thanks again, tavernjef...

lostbearbrew, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly copper in colour with a wonderful nose of citrus (a combination of orange and grapefruit) and spice (somewhat peppery) hops. Very fresh hoppy flavor and a long finish. Not overly malty or heavy, but that was a good thing in this case. Medium carbonation and high drinkability. A fantastic IPA to say the least.

fisherman34, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of egajdzis
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, reddish amber color with a small, off white head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of light floral and citrus hops, light caramel malts in the background. Taste of mostly the same, with lots of fruity hoppiness, a really nice IPA.

egajdzis, Aug 05, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to tavernjef for a growler of this rare sighting in my neck of the woods.
Pours a dark copper color with a full finger of bright white head...very foamy, very attractive. Lacing is quite thick and has exceptional cling.
Aroma is nothing overpowering, but very nice...bitter hops in the nose along w/ carmelized malt to balance it out.
The taste is really where this beer shines...tons of fruity hops up front w/ a boat load of malts to back it up. This has to be one of the most well balanced IPA's I have ever tried.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...even w/ this puppy filled two weeks ago.
I am so glad I got the chance to try this brew...it would be in constant rotation if it was available in my area.
Drinkability is needless to say through the roof...this growler is almost gone and I'm already bummin'.
Highly recommend to all fans of the IPA.

warriorsoul, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

( Served in an American pint glass)

A-Slight hazy to this golden deep orange colored beer with a thick very creamy white head that last for quite a while.

S- Floral hops of pine with notes of light toasted malt and fresh grain. Very perfume nose.

T- Spicy green hops with pine and a hint of earthy hops slight toasted malt and support to the hops and a unique hop tanginess finishes with a nice hop bitterness.

M-medium-full mouthfeel with a nice chewy sensation

D-This is a very strong IPA that has lots of hops depth and is an amazing contender for the style. Very well done.

rhoadsrage, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of danadeny
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

beautiful deep orange with a hint of red body. clear. frothy off white head. nice smell of citric like hops, freshness, kind of sweet, hops are not too faint, but not a killer, a bit bready. wow, this one is bitter. it's the first thing my tastebuds respond to, like the hops know exactly where to head to on your toung and they get there quick. then there is a second wave of hops in the after tase that seem to have orders to attack once all of the first wave of hops die. on the front side there is more than the normal amount of roasted barley, this one has some color and malt sweetness up front. just enough to give the beer some kind of ballance untill the hops do their thing. mouthfeel is slick and oily, but the hops oils are not so much that your mouth is left feeling sticky. very smooth. drinkability is good because as for ipa's go this one does it very well and i could down a couple of these in a session, especially after my pallet warms up to the hops.

danadeny, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of Skidz
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Major thanks to jeffboo for this growler of glory...

Pours out deep amber and sits amber brown in the glass with a large off-white head, puttering down slowly to a nice skim and lacings to boot.

Smells potently fruity, dripping of orange, grapefruit lemon and a dusting of pine. Nice malty core complete with caramel, toasted biscuit and just a slight hint of nuts.

Tastes mildly sweet up front caramel and walnuts off the bat. Hops stike a resounding chord of grapefruit rinds, sweet orange, stong pine resin and lemon zest. Melts in the mouth, coating your throat with hop oils, finishing well-bittered, pine needles stuck to the tongue.

Smooth, creamy and pretty much every other adjective to describe "it makes me feel good all over." Carbonation is medium-light and well-balanced. Medium-full in body, can't ask for much more here.

Fantastic IPA, stands up to the hype 100%. Will look for this in the future, dreaming all the while. Again, a big IOU to jeffboo.

Skidz, Jun 26, 2005
Photo of PatYoda
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler shipped lovingly by mentor! Thanks buddy! I was very worried about the condition this would come to me in since it is at least 2 weeks old and has been driving around in 90 degree weather all day today, not to mention while in transit for the past 3 days. But the packaging was great and if this is any better on tap fresh at the brewery, I don't think I could handle it!

Appearance is perfect. Beautiful clear amber with a long lasting off white head that leaves some intricate lacing. Smell definitely kicks you in the head. A very distinct, sharp citrus aspect stands out, but pine needles are definitely there. Some perceptible alcohol as well. Taste is beyond bold! Sweet juicy citrus fruit up front. Grapefruits and oranges for sure. Tons and tons of resiny pine sap hops dominate as well, and these are well complemented by a thick bodied mouthfeel. Hardly any malt to be found here. Then the bitterness hits you, or should I say "stabs" you! It leaves a little bit of grapefruit flavor behind to tease you, but other than that it's just a really sharp, clean bitterness which begs you to take another sip, but you can't because a double dose of all these flavors is too much. You have to wait, intently staring the Mama down. I think this is the bitterest beer I've had, though Ruination is listed at 100+ IBUs, this is more bitter - I could actually feel it numbing my palate after the first couple of sips. Luckily if you wait to take another sip, you get to feel the wonderful effect the beer has on the inside of your mouth. This is really hard to describe, but it almost feels like someone has administered a really weak local anesthetic to your mouth. Like I said, hard to describe. You'll have to feel it yourself and quit making fun of my analogical skills, jerk. Anyway, I love it.

PatYoda, Jun 24, 2005
Photo of mntlover
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copper color with a nice two finger off white-head that falls to a foam like iceberg and leaves nice webs of lace on my glass.

Aroma is sweet some hint of caramel malt mixed with fruit oranges, melons nice fruity sweet. There are some pine resins and herbal spicey hops that sneak out from underneath the fruity sweetness. This is one nice hoppy smelling IPA.

Taste is full of hops fruity citrus flavors grapefruit, orange peel and pineapple mingle with what caramel malt survives, this beer seems like all hops but the malt is in there and balances out nicely just seems like too many hops. The finish is herbal with some pine resin mixed that leaves a lingering bitterness that over shadows the sweeet maltiness thats still there.

Mouthfeel is medium, don't notice much malt in the flavor so many hops but its there and you can feel it and it does add some flavor.

Drinkability is great, hell of a regular IPA no problems finishing this 64ozs off wishing I had more already. Thanks tavernjef for this fine sample.

mntlover, Jun 17, 2005
Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 1,207 ratings.