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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,189 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,189
Reviews: 658
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.2%
Wants: 828
Gots: 60 | FT: 5
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: 1,189 | Reviews: 658 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of egajdzis
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
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 +7.6%
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 +3.4%
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 -5.7%
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%
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 +6.9%
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%
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
Photo of slyke
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had Masala Mama from the cask pump today. I've had this beer before on tap, but it tastes even better at cellar temperature.

Appearance was a nice bronze color and after settling had about a half-inch of off-white foam. I do so love watching cask-conditioned beers settle - a combination of the visual display and the anticipation of what is to come. The smell was good, but didn't give much away - only subtle floral notes. Taste was outstanding. Citrus flavor from the hops and boy, did it go down easy. Mouthfeel was very good - exactly what I've come to expect in IPAs. Drinkability was very good as well - I'd love to ease through an afternoon sipping a few of these. Too bad commitments today kept me from having more than one.

Masala Mama is one of my favorites at Town Hall and an easy choice when it is on cask.

slyke, May 30, 2005
Photo of ThisOnesOnMe
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For all the reviewers out there who only drank this in a growler, they need to try it in person, but only if its being served from a cask. Town Hall rotates their beers from on tap to cask every few days so its sometimes hard to get what you want. However, the Masala Mama is very popular from the cask, so it is there often. And that is with good reason, because even though it is good from the growler, its way better in the cask. Something about the exact temperature and the mouthfeel of the casked beer makes you stop caring that its one of the more bitter beers you've had. How can something be too bitter when it rolls down so smooth. The bottom line is that when its on tap, the carbonation gives it a sharp mouthfeel. There is also something in the growler that is sharp also. On cask, it looses the sharpness, which allows you to just enjoy the beautiful hops cascading over your tongue.

ThisOnesOnMe, May 24, 2005
Photo of schoolcb
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a pale gold color, with a frothy head of millions of teeny-tiny bubbles. The first whif reveals an intense hop aroma...American hops, citrusy hops. Little malt aroma can be discerned behind the hops. The hops dominate the flavor well into the aftertaste. Balance is tipped to the bitter side. The beer was served through a beer engine at cellar temperatures and you HAVE to try it if you are there. The only thing I think would make this beer better is a bit more malt.

schoolcb, May 24, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahhh...what could be better to come home to after a long day at work than a fresh growler of the infamous Masala Mama sitting on your doorstep. Pours from the growler a brilliant shade of reddish orange with a fluffly, sticky mountain of head...as it falls it leaves wonderful intricate patchy lacing on the side of my glass. My mouth is watering already. As I pick up my glass and bring it to my nose I'm instantly hit by a wave of ripe, succulent hop aromas. Rich, resiny grapefruit, peach, pineapple, mango and various other citrus fruits mix with a hint of pine sap. Sweet candy caramel maltiness mixes into my make this smell like a big citrusy hop candy. Sit....smell...repeat incessantly.

First sip brings a smooth, rush of lupulin laden hoppiness. Massive citrus tones rush over my tongue along with a hint of herbal pine. A sweet, mellow caramel, bready maltiness seems to have a symbiotic relationship to the hops. The sweetness comes first and finishes off with just the right amount of bitterness on the back of the palate. Incredibly flavorful...I get hints of all the citrus fruits I mentioned above with each sip. Nothing less than a lovingly made IPA...exceptionally balanced and simply a delight to all lovers of the hops.

Silken smooth, creamy mouthfeel that has just enough carbonation...I could nearly mistake this for being off cask. Each sip I take makes me want to take another and so on. Man..I would be drinking this all the time if I had access to it...an all day drinkable IPA. Sometimes I think I get caught up in the double IPA's and pushing the envelope...however then I come across a brew like this that uses elegance, balance and obvious brewing skills to create one of the best IPA's that has yet to touch my lips. I might shed a tear when this growler is empty....you Minnesota folks are quite lucky to have easy access to this brew. Maybe one day they will bottle it...until then I must thank feloniousmonk for the opportunity.

orbitalr0x, May 18, 2005
Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev -3%
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.

weeare138, May 03, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

meathookjones, May 02, 2005
Photo of Higravity
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Higravity, Apr 27, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Frozensoul327, Apr 22, 2005
Photo of axisjones
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler, a ruddy reddish orange. The color and clarity and quite captivating. I would paint my car this color if I had enough beer and money. A rocky white head bobs on top and the lacing is oh so pretty all the way down. This is a gorgeous beer, prom quality all the way. Hoptastic smell, bitter grapefruit and dirty flowers. For a standard IPA this is hopped the hell out. Unlike alot of IPAs, the bitterness is straight up and isnt as complex in the way or citric or piney flavors. The malt is initially kidnapped by the pure slam of the hops but makes a cameo in the end lending a faint biscuity flavor. Underline the faint. A bit on the unbalanced side in favor of raw hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is oily and slick, i can almost feel the hop residue's legs dripping down my inner cheeks. Perfect levels of carbonation.
Drinkable to the max, but the bitterness could really use more balance. A great IPA all around and quite the beaut. Thanks feloniousmonk for the growler, my friends aren't coming close to it.

axisjones, Apr 19, 2005
Photo of tavernjef
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

tavernjef, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of brakspear
3.45/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

brakspear, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of mentor
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

mentor, Mar 20, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
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...

ppoitras, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a thorough palette cleansing, it is time to crack the growler of this legendary ale.

Poured into my trust Arrogant Bastard glass, I see a lovely dark copper color with a nice sized, off white head. I would say this is one of the darker IPAs I've had the pleasure of sampling.

The aroma of this bad boy is pure heaven in a glass. Piney hops run wild and chasing them is a weak, orange-like citrus. Some nice caramel malt acts as a foundation to bring together all the parts of this wonderful scent. They should make cologne that smells like this.

To be honest, I feared the first sip on the chance that it wouldn't be all I dreamed. Fortunately, it was. The body is somewhere between medium and full but is so smooth and so chewy. The flavor begins with a nice big hoppy bitterness that moves its way into the piney region, just like the aroma. As it progresses a bit of grapefruit flavor comes along and then the caramel malt makes an appearance just to keep everything under control, but never takes away from the performance the hops put on. The end of each swallow leaves a wonderful bitter/citrus aftertaste that lasts until the next sip.

If you can't tell, I love this beer. This is my second all "5" beer, and I would love to score it higher. The generosity of BA and all around gentleman Feloniousmonk made this sampling possible, so Al, thank you again and again. If I lived in Minnesota, I would be hard pressed to buy anything else.

Southernbrew, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My sister was in Minneapolis for a college activities planning convention and was nice enough to walk down to the brewpub, buy a growler of this, lug it back to her hotel (almost 2 miles one way), and bring home in her backpack. I’m glad she did, it’s a tasty beer that has more malt complexity than you’d expect from an IPA. The brown body is topped off by a medium-sized head. The aroma smacks first of hops, pine tip variety, but is followed up by a solid, sweet caramel and biscuit malt. The flavor is full, the malt thick in the mouth with the tingling carbonation and prickly bitterness lightening the load. Excellent.

aracauna, Feb 27, 2005
Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

GIVEMEBACKMYSON, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of Dantes
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: 64 oz. screwtop Town Hall growler. Dated best by 8/23 (7 days from fill date I believe) and consumed 8/20 and 8/21.

Cost: Acquired via trade. Thanks Truthbrew, I still owe you!

Presentation: Shaker pint at ~50º

Appearance: Promised great things. Poured a lovely ruddy, orange-amber. Reminded me quite a bit of Celebration. The 2" ivory head was supertight and sticky. If I hadn’t been warned, it would have overflowed the lip. Very fine, active carbonation suffused the body, which was hazy with fine particles in suspension. Fine, heavy lace.

Smell: Begins to fulfill the appearance’s promise. Strongly piney, with some citrus and floral top notes. Still, not overwhelmingly astringent or sharp. I don’t get much malt or toastiness in the nose.

Taste: The long-awaited moment! My first impression is that this beer is remarkably sweet (not in a cloying way) and smooth. Then the hops jump out, tingling the palate and tongue, almost like it’s mentholated. This seduces first and bites second. The malts, not apparent at first in the nose, make their presence felt here. They provide just the roundness that the hops need to really sing. It's interesting to me that some people think this is super-hoppy and others say it's not as hopped as some monster IPA's. I think this dichotomy comes from the phenomenal balance this beer has. I think this is as hoppy as most West Coasters, but integrates them better than most. As mentioned, there’s a caramel sweetness, along with some toastiness and some nutty flavors (and some nice nutskin bitterness). Again, comparisons to Celebration come to mind. This isn’t “just” an IPA, it shares the rare roundness of early Brutal Bitter and Celebration. There’s some British winter warmer lurking here. It blows me away that this is “only” ~6% ABV. It’s not that its “alcoholy,” but that it’s more warming and full than that ABV suggests. Finishes with a nice, dry, bitter snap and with medium length.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and well-carbonated with a medium to full body, especially for an IPA.

Drinkability: Super-drinkability. I could see myself drinking way too much money away if I lived in MN (which I almost did). Right in that sweet-spot for a session-beer.

Backwash: I’ll admit it, I had a little schadenfreude with this beer; I almost wanted it to not be as good as advertised. Could anything live up to the hype? Most beers in my experience don’t. I was wrong. Although this is not the perfect beer, it’s pretty close. Still, there are some other more readily available beers that come close: Racer 5, Pipkin Brutal Bitter, and most of all Celebration. To me, while they wouldn’t be mistaken for each other side by side, Celebration and MM seem as if they were created by two people shooting for a similar goal. In fact, it seems as if MM were created by a very talented brewer attempting to improve upon Celebration, and has done so. Masala Mama is smoother, more well-balanced, and better drinking. A work of art.

Dantes, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of putnam
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

"enjoyed by 1-20"
Consumed on 1-12 from a growler.
Red/orange syrup-colored liquid with a molten, buttercream-colored top. Pungent aromas of orange candy, slatey earth and herbs. Sweet, broad, well-toasted sugars are revealed in a lazy rotation with caramel, cedar, toffee, cinnamon jawbreakers and sooty resins.
Forceful and glossy with deep, citric complexity.
Typically I find American IPA intolerable as a steady drink. This one is certainly above average.

Thanks to jenn and -- ultimately -- "stooby" for the drink. I'm still tasting it the next day.

putnam, Jan 13, 2005
Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.