Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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1,262 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,262
Reviews: 666
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 836
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-01-2003

American style India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed using Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Mt. Hood hops. A beer with crisp hop flavor and bitterness well balanced with American malt sweetness.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,262 | Reviews: 666
Photo of jwinship83
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

growler received from mnbears fan this year at DLD. drank the night after back at my place. the glass used was the sierra nevada hop tulip. best by date on the cap reads 5/9.

A- this one pours out a translucent copper colored body with a slight haze to it. there is a finger of neat bright white head on top that has good retention and leaves behind complete rings of lacing. very nice.

S- the initial whiff brings forth a plethora of hops. mostly pine with a lesser amount of grapefruit and just a touch of earth. sweet caramel malts attempt to add some balance.

T- the taste starts out with some of the sweet caramel malts that i could smell and then this beer quickly becomes all about the hops. tons of resiny pine with a far lesser amount of grapefruit and just a touch of earthiness.

M- the body is a solid medium and the carbonation is spot on. nice and bitter. leaves my mouth feeling dry.

O- in a market over saturated with IPAs, i find myself really enjoying this one. the ABV makes it possible to have a couple without risking a terrible next morning. im not taking this one off my gots, im going to need another. thanks again matt for the chance to try this.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery poured into a pint glass (I also had the Masala Mama cask beer - which was very delicious and creamier than the regular IPA)! Pours a hazy reddish/orange amber with a great creamy meringue like head and super sticky lace. Nose of fruity hops both citrus and tropical notes, floral and piney hops as well as a good deal of caramel malt sweetness. The flavor is full of hops, lots of citrus and tropical fruitys, floral and pines, strong caramel malt, somewhat sweet with some residual sugars as well. Light to medium body with a good amount of carbonatinon and not much alcohol kick. Overall, one of the better brewery-only IPAs I ever had especially the cask version!

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Exiled for sharing this growler. This has been on my wants for a long time.

The beer pours an orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the candy hops, orange citrus, pine and biscuit malt. A very well balanced smelling IPA.

The flavor is similar, but not quite as good as the aroma. I get a lot of orange and brown sugar notes, as well as some toffee. Low to medium bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Glad I got to try this one.

Photo of sliverX
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a nice rich copper, with a thick foam cap that left great lacing.
smell is sweet malt toffee note backed with a citrus rind note
taste is sweet malt followed by some pine notes with a very sweet orange citrus hoppyness
mouthfeel is medium to full
overall this is a real nice beer that I'll gladly share anytime I can pick one up in a trade

Photo of Spider889
3.66/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by normyk at the first Central OH Beer Tasting - at his place! Thanks for hosting Rob, and for all the great beer you shared that day.

Poured a dense honey color with a tall white head that had minor tinges of khaki around the edges.

Smelled medicinal - very resinous pine character.

The taste is full of dry pine. The malt was such that I was also getting an oak flavor. I was reminded somewhat of Burton Baton.

Residual dry bitterness. Lots of grassy pine needles.

I don't think I was nearly as psyched as some were to try this offering, and it may well have been better that way, as I wasn't let down very much. A solid beer for sure, but nothing I'd go to any effort to find again.

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

Poured into a pint glass from a growler.

A - Pours a nice copper color with some slight amber hints and a perfectly dense slightly off-white head. The head is about 1 inch tall and is well retained.

S - Malty and sweet chewy grain mixed in with some nice tropical fruit notes. Mangos as well as some nice hints of pine. Slight papaya and pineapple in the nose as well.

T & M - Starts off quite grainy and malty with some good fresh bread hints. This is then transferred to some nice grassy and earthy hop notes. Some fresh herbs and some slight dank pine notes. Tropical citrus notes are also present with some slight papaya and some orange as well. Very well balanced IPA. The finish is nice and bitter and hopy with some great notes of tropical notes and a clean finish. Good light body with a great lower ABV and a very drinkable balanced profile.

O - Spot on American IPA. Well deserved hype. Good toasty malts with some nice strong but delicious hops.

Photo of billyshears
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from notes
A: Darker amber with nice frothy head. Good lacing.
S: Sweet caramel (almost toffeeish) malts and citrus hops (lemon, grapefruit); a bit of flowery noticeable hops too.
T: well balanced between aforementioned malts and hops; pleasant strong lingering bitter pine hop finish; ends a bit bready.
M: medium resiny mouthfeel with healthy carbonation.
Really should've taken better notes, but I was enjoying it too much. Really a top notch IPA and worth of the reputation. Seek it out if you can.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to therobot for this growler. Into a DFH Signature Glass.

A: Pours a deep copper in color with an off white head, about half an inch or so that slowly recedes down to a cap of bubbles with excellent rings of lacing. Superb clarity and a fair amount of carbonation moving up from the nucleation point. Very nice.

S: Big tropical fruits, grapefruit, mangos, pineapples, very fruity, with a bit of a malt presence underneath, some notes of caramel, and a bit of a biscuit like smell as well. Not bad.

T: Follows the nose nicely with a decently juicy hop presence, citrus and pine are a bit stronger in the flavor than the nose, which is nice. Pretty decent malt backbone in there as well, not a huge presence but decent. Some of the same lightly toasted malts that were in the nose which is pretty nice. Long bitter finish ties everything together quite nicely. Excellent.

M: Spot on, medium body, perfect carbonation, dry finish that absolutely makes me want to take another drink after I've set the glass down.

O: This is a fantastic IPA at the lower end of the alcohol spectrum that is incredibly hoppy, perfectly bitter, and perfectly dry. My girlfriend and I will have zero issues finishing this growler with dinner and over the course of the evening. Exceptionally well done!

Thanks Dan!

Photo of mnbrewery
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: (11/12)
Huge grapefruit and orange! Tropical fruit hops dominate. Super enticing.

Appearance: (3/3)
Copper in color. Poured from the tap with a nice fluffy, one-fingered head. Insane lacing, even before I took my first sip.

Flavor: (18/20)
Grapefruit and big hoppy bitterness upfront. Little to no malt present. A west coast style IPA. This beer really reminds me of the Green Flash West Coast IPA. Hops only intensify from the front-end to the back. Wonderful!

Mouthfeel: (5/5)
Light in body with a great hoppy bite.

Overall Impression: (10/10)
I haven't had a better IPA (besides Pliny and Green Flash West Coast IPA). It's crazy that this is available in my backyard. I much prefer this beer to Surly Furious, as it is lighter and the malts take a definite back seat to the hops.

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass mug.

Big thanks to hannydawg and VDubb86 for hooking me up with some o' this growlered goodness!

Didn't think I'd ever get around to trying this...much props to my unexpected hookups! It pours a hazy sunset amber topped by a light sprig of dirty white foam. (I will note here that I was late to the growler, so the carbonation was decidedly diminished for me. I have adjusted the grading accordingly.) The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit, mandarin orange, lime, caramel, and a slight intimation of onion. The taste holds notes of pine, orange peel, greens, light cedar, and some very light caramel resting in the back. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty dry finish. Overall, a very nice IPA. I'm not sure I can rave about it as much as others have, but it is pretty damn good.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a mug

Thanks to hannydawg for sharing this growler with myself

This beer appears an amber orange color with a thin vale of head on the surface. The aromatics are slight malt barley notes followed by a well balanced grapefruit hop nose. The flavor of this beer is surprisingly not nearly as bittered as I would have anticipated. This beer would have been better had this been fresh so I am extrapolating my thoughts as if this were a cask beer. I'm really pleased with the overall flavors involved here. I rather enjoy. I'm glad to have had the chance to try this beer, but would still relish the chance to have it again.

Photo of Dspohn
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A large part of the reason I initially joined BA almost 2 years ago was to find new and exciting IPAs, little did I know the great appreciation this site would give me for tons of beer styles and individual beers. When I first joined this site, Masala Mama was the #1 rated IPA. After learning it was only available at one brewery in the entire country I pretty resigned myself to never trying it, yet, here I am with a fresh growler sent from arvjunk to enjoy. Thanks again Ankur.

Pours an amber hue with slight haze topped with an thick beige head which left some spectacular spiderwebs of lacing all over my tulip. Really outstanding especially considering this is coming from a growler filled 1000 miles away.

This beer is quite balanced, not something I usually value being brought up on west coast hop explosions, but this beer is quite tasty. The smell is a little muted in comparison with the taste, but the overall presence is similar. A really well paired combination of truly sweet malts and bitter but not abrasive hops. A delicious and sweet well-balanced IPA, I wish this was more available since it seems like a great gateway beer that's not overly bitter. Notes of warm fresh caramel, earth and flowers, pine and citrus.

Mouthfeel is quite good, soft and creamy even after spending a week in a growler.

Quite a tasty beer, I'm glad I got to try it. Not my all-time favorite IPA, but it's hard to compare with most hop dominated IPAs from California. As far as well-balanced IPA's go, this is the best one I can remember having.

Photo of GoldenJet
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've held off on reviewing this for quite some time, as it's kind of my go-to trade bait. That being said, after picking up a growler for hockey tonight, I figured it's time.

And at this time, I still don't get it. It's a good IPA, but I'm not quite sure it's worth all the A's it gets. It has all the standard traits you look for in superior IPA's - nice citrus fruits and hop oil on the nose, a ton of grapefruit and grassy-ness for the taste, and a decent enough kick of hops on the front, middle, and finish.

But what the hell is with the after-taste? It's been the one thing that's always bugged me about Masala Mama, as I can't recall an IPA that lingers like this one does, and it's not in a good way. It reminds me of dated DFH 90 Minute IPA - it's just weird. I just can't get away from it, and it really confuses me.

Overall, like I said, it's a good IPA, but not worthy of all the adoration - which is a tough thing to write, as of all the Town Hall beers in my backyard, this is probably my least favorite.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewpub. Pours a very pretty orange amber brown with medium tan head that sticks around for a long time. Nice lacing on this one for sure. Nose is where this rocks for me. Very fresh citrus hop aromas, with some leafy notes that add to the freshness as well. The flavor follows with a solid IPA, big citrus notes, followed by a good deal of bitterness, carried through over a slightly sweet malt bill. Assertive and well-done. A very good beer here. Nice body, and wayyy too easy to drink.

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

From growler to Bruges hybrid glass on 3/5/11
*From notes

A HUGE thanks goes out to ncmussell for this one. Cheers, Nate!

A: A 2.25 finger head on a careful pour. Amazingly icky, sticky and bubbly lacing. Just a gorgeous shade of dark sunset amber.

S: Citrus! From the moment I removed the growler's cap, it hit me - and hard. Intense pine and fruity resin, with bitter hops and faint, mild malts off in the distance.

T: One word: balance. This is one of the most balanced and delicious beers I've ever had. It's extremely fresh, leading to a massive amount of tropical fruits up front. A run of malt in the middle lays down a track for the bitter yet slightly sweet hoppy finish.

M: The creamiest of IPA's. I can't begin to describe this one - it's like Christmas morning for your mouth. Rich and slightly heavy, the carbonation here is spot-on and simply perfect.

O: If anyone had a timeshare in Minneapolis, lemme know. I could easily see myself going on a week-long bender just killing pints of this heavenly nectar 24/7.

Believe the hype, folks. Masala Mama is worthy of all the praise you've heard and then some. In my opinion, this is the quintessential American IPA.

Two BIG thumbs up. This one should be on your bucket list.

*Paired with a medium-rare, grass fed ribeye and homemade mac & cheese.

Photo of treyrab
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can remember wanting to try this beer ever since I joined BA over three years ago; this is my first time. I have to thank Nittanybeerfan for shipping a growler of this back home from his trip to Minnesota for the Men's Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships. There is no way randawakes could tick this beer and not me, so he graciously shipped the growler back and hand bottled me two. As soon as they arrived they were put in the fridge and opened the same night.

A: The cap hissed as some ghostly smoke crept out of the bottleneck. You have to keep in mind that Dan (Nittanybeerfan) is a homebrewer, so he knows how to adequately cap hand bottles. The beer poured from the unmarked brown bottle into my Russian River pint glass. As I pour, I can see nice carbonation forming, yielding a finger to two finger nice eggshell/khaki head that lasts for a few minutes. Given the time it took the head to recede, I can assume this will be a sticky malt/hop experience.

S: Upon first whiff I get a punch of toffee, Werther's Original, and dry orange peel. It smells very nicely balanced, unlike many IPAs that are hops or nothing. But this IPA is different. It doesn't have the old IPA caramel smell like an IPA that has sat on the shelves for a month. It has a nice caramel smell, with simultaneously fresh citrus hops.

T: Truly a perfectly balanced IPA. The sweet, sticky toffee and Werther's Original in the scent come through magnificently in the taste, and then adds a touch of butterscotch. It is very sticky, a tad sweet, and then a blast of citrus hops comes through. This is not a hop bomb. In fact, I'm not sure if it is more hop forward or malt forward, but the hops are there and they let you know it. Citrus, orange peel, and some grapefruit.

M/D: Great.

Overall, a great IPA. Will drink my other bottle very soon. The key to this beer's success is the perfect balance, with the sweet toffee malt and citrus hops.

Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Growler received in a past trade with a generous MN guy. Shared with kubrick215 and a non-BA friend.

Pours a hazy dark golden orange with burnt orange hues when held to a light and a two finger frothy, pillowy off-white head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with rings, streaks and splotches of soapy lacing.

As soon as the growler was opened you could smell the dank, resinous oily hops from across the room. Very earthy and floral with a lots of pine and sticky kind bud character dominating the nose. There's also a good amount of sweet citrus and tropical fruit. Hints of pineapple, mango, grapefruit and citrus rind. Subtle malts with hints of sweet alcohol and biscuit.

Chewy full body with a blast of dry, bitter hops that linger throughout into a long, dry finish. More one-dimensional than the aroma suggests with an overpowering dry, earthy pine flavor. Slightly floral but mostly just intensely bitter and dry. Kind of like eating a tree. Resinous, sticky and oily with the dryness just coating the tongue in an unpleasant way. This really hurts the mouthfeel and drinkability. Not much in the way of sweetness to balance things out. The tropical and citrus fruit notes from the aroma are minimal if not completely absent. It's hard to pick anything else out underneath the dry, earthy pine needles. Faint malt backbone but again not enough to balance things out much. Subtle hits of caramel, biscuit and graham cracker.

Overall, I'm happy I got to try this beer but it was just too one-dimensional for my liking. I love intense bitter hoppy beers but this beer coats the tongue in an unpleasant way and reminds we of having cotton mouth after smoking low grade weed back in college.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was excited for this growler while at Normyk's place for a tasting on 3/5/11.

A- Stunning clarity was the first thing I noticed. Its a glowing golden orange with a stark white head. It looks crisp, it looks unflawed.

S- The aroma is nice and sweet. Pretty strong on tropical fruit, but fresh pine is also well represented.

T- The taste isnt as nice as the aroma. It seems to lose some dimension. Its quite resinous with lots of leafy hops. Grapefruit rind and pine bough are soaked in hop oils.

M- The oily stuff lingers but this beer isnt too bitter. It some how manages to have a long lingering oily finish but maintain an overall dry feel at the same time.

D- Quite enjoyable. I wouldnt mind drinking this often.

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - deep amber, amazing head and lacing. Great looking beer.

S - caramel malt bitter and citrusy hops. Lovely nose

T - Bitter and sweet citrus on the front. Great balance of dry bitter and maltiness. Great beer.

M - very smooth and medium bodied.

D - highly drinkable. Nothing about which to complain.

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

Pours amber golden with a strong head despite being a growler. A good amount of lacing and the head sticks around for quite a while. Really solid aroma of hops and citrus. Some nice orange scents as well as grapefruit. Very floral as well. Tastes sweet and hoppy. Some really nice almost caramel malts backing up huge citrus flavours. Very complex and yet, highly drinkable. I see why this beer has such good ratings. Top notch

Photo of brew3crew
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- light orange with a nice white one finger head that sticks around
S-nice and citrusy. It invites me in with the fruity smell.
T- alot like it smells. Very fuity and almost like an orange? Some grapefruit as well
M-medium bodied and smooth with a nice citrus aftertaste.
D- very drinkable. Taste gone in no time.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewpub. Was lucky enough to be able to make it out to Seven Corners while I was in town for 2011 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. This was served in a traditional shaker pint glass.

The first thing that strikes me is the thick fluffy head. It is a full inch in height, fluffy, and creamy. It sticks all over the sides of the glass, and it contributes to uneven thick rings of lace that are slathered all over the glass. The color is coppery orange amber, and the body is clear and crisp with no haze at all.

The aroma is phenomenal. There are hints of just about everything in there. Grapefruit, orange zest, stone fruit, mango, a dank bitterness and resinous aromas. The flavor is completely out of control. Similar to the aroma, but taken to the next level. There is more emphasis on the grapefruit and the peach and apricot flavors. There are also hints of pine and grassy hops that lead right into more tropical flavors as mango and orange come in towards the end of the flavor profile. There is a mild backing sweetness in the middle of the flavor that provides a great balance to the musty floral bitterness. The aftertaste is sticky with orange and lemon zest flavors.

Sticky and resinous throughout, medium carbonation, and a great satisfying...almost thirst quenching...feel on the finish. It manages to be both smooth and sticky at the same time. Definitely refreshing, I wish this beer wasn't a $350 plane ticket and 8 hours or round-trip travel away.

Photo of Lazerlobe
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler thanks to BA justn. Growler labeled 2/24

A: Light struck amber with golden highlights. Lower carbonation agitates a thin white head.

S: Weak tropical fruits and caramelized undertones.

T: Sweet candied caramel and fading passion fruit and banana flavors. The hops have really taken a backseat to the malt, something an IPA should not do, as I see it. Bitterness is appreciable but never in the way. Sugary finish.

M: Pleasant with a cask feel.

D: Not a bad IPA but I'm thinking the trip out here has taken something away from the beer. I had much higher expectations.

Photo of nhindian
3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

64oz growler poured into a Dogfish Head Signature glass. Growler provided by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

A - This beer pours a lot darker than expected for an IPA, almost gleaning into amber territory but still has that orange starburst. Dark orange, deep red, like a late sunrise. One finger at most of head, a little disappointing, but has some decent retention. Lacing on the other hand, is great, boasting large strokes of foam covering a ton of the glass.

S - The smell is a bit modest, slightly piney, slightly citrusy, but lots of floral aroma here from the hops. Fresh smelling. However there's also a very strong malt backbone in play here as well. Honestly, it's a bit too strong as I feel it detracts from the hops a bit too much and overall it's not incredibly hoppy smelling at all besides the floral rush at the beginning.

T - After taking my first sip, I was taken aback. This isn't very hoppy at all, much to my surprise. The front end is almost all malt and sweetness, before a slight transition into the grapefruit, orange, and bitter end. The malts just overtake the first half of this beer and I'm getting lots of caramel and toffee, and they only begrudgingly recede to let a bit of hops through near the end.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with low carbonation. I don't know how, with Town Hall's counter-pressure filled growlers, but this seems a bit flat. Creamy, yet disappointing.

D - Drinkability is moderate. While a nicely balanced IPA, if I was looking for hops I'd search elsewhere, this beer has too much malt backbone in my opinion.

Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Happy to have the chance to try this. Enjoyed on tap at the brewery. Pours a deep copper brown with a lacy beige head. Lots of bitter citrusy hops and sweet bready malts. Crisp, clean body with a lasting resiny finish. Great IPA, would love to have this at my local bar anytime!

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,262 ratings.