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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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669 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 669
Hads: 1,307
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 862
Gots: 73 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 669 | Hads: 1,307
Photo of Jables
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**Arrived in Champaign on trade from FeloniousMonk**

Pours a dark hazy amber with a medium foamy white head.

Aroma has more going on than most I(1)PA's. Yeah it's got the typical citrusy hops and crisp notes that your average IPA has, but it does have more of them. What sets this one apart from other IPA's I've had is the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg that are hanging out just above the surface. Slightly bready too so its like a snickerdoodle cookie, or a sweet dessert bread smothered in fresh citrus fruit. Wonderful stuff.

The flavor comes through with some great clean crisp citrus fruit and fruit rinds, but that isn't what impresses me. What impresses me is the bready backbone that pushes the flavor and accelerates it.

This isn't what I expected when I went to try it, no way.

This isn't a brew that is satisfied with showing off with all kinds of hops, no she's balanced, she's hip, she's got more going on than you thought she did when you ordered her. She's intimidating all of a sudden, she likes to take charge. Before you know it, she'll have you tied up to a bed with a blindfold on.

Or maybe that's just me.

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What we've got here is a bonafide hop bananza

Pours medium clarity and orange...bright orange. not orangish brown, or copper or amber, but orange - the color of the fruit. if you wore this color deer hunting, you'd be legal.
Smell is hops - whole lot of different hop aromas - apricots and grapefruit, but some very bitter varieties also, all of them boisterous, fighting each other, making one big, spicy, fruity hop harmony.
Theres not a lot of flavor "balance" here. this beer is focused on hops. of course, that's not a bad thing. masala is spicy, but enjoyably mellow in the middle, fruity but not that sweet, sharp but smooth...pretty light on the malt flavors. very dry finish. no yeasty "earthiness," or really anything to compete with or take your attention from hops.
Not my favorite, but I understand why it may be yours.

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Photo of Loki
4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a 64oz growler on 3/18 with a best before date of 3/22 fresh from the brewery via the felonious one, too who I am now indebted.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear pure copper color with a huge off-white, bubbly head. Leaves thick webbing of lacing all over the glass. Even after time and near the bottom of the growler there is a thin covering of head.

Smell: Grass, hops, hops, and more hops. Fuggles, maybe Centennial, and more that I know, but can't quite separate. Scents of pine and musk with subtle hints of citrus and cloves. A plethora of American hop varieties make this beer come alive. Pure aromatic bliss.

Taste: Surprisingly sweet malt in the beginning. Then the hops smoothly slide in and glide through pine and hops into bitter finish with light hint of citrus. Fantastic and wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, medium body, little carbonation with a sticky finish.

Drinkability: All day, everyday and long, long, long into the night. Hell I'd have this with a spicy omelet for breakfast, in fact I think tomorrow I will.

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Uncle Jimbo shared his growler that he received from a fellow BA, I am glad that I was able to try this much talked about IPA. The pour was a very cloudy light apricot. The hops were over whelmingly citrusy...a few discussions of what type they may be, but don't think we came up with any answers (hops beginning with "C"). The mouthfeel is very nice, just medium. I found this a very balanced beer, one of the more balanced ones I've had. What I found intriguing was that the malt, while not sweet, was able to support the hops, which while present, were not bitter. It was easy to drink. I am glad that we had a nice fresh sample to drink.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a growler back filled at the brewpub.

This IPA poured a hazy, orangish-amber color with very tall, creamy, off-white foam that persisted a very long time and clung to the glass leaving lace and clumps. The smell was initially fruity hops with some resinous hops, but as the beer warmed a bit of malt came through. The taste was a rich, bitter hoppy flavor with a touch of underlying sweetness from the malt -- fairly balanced, though with the hops dominating. There was not much in the way of floral hop character, but there was an every so slight taste of papery oxidation not atypical of hoppy IPAs. The mouthfeel was smooth, hoppy, and dry with medium body and moderate carbonation feel. The aftertaste was astringently hoppy and long lasting (with some tannins). This was a very nice, dry, very hopped IPA. The taste was much improved when consumed just below room temperature as opposed to cold from the refrigerator. This is right up there with the best of the American IPAs. Thanks to feloniousmonk for this sample!

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Photo of erica
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Masala Mama, like the name. I had a glass of this out of a growler. It was pretty- a nice orangey amber colour with a small head. Apparently the first pour out of the growler had a huge head but I could tilt my glass while my boyfriend poured so the beer was calm. Yes, it was calm. The aroma was mild for what I would expect out of an IPA, but I found that to be a good thing. It smelled citrusy and hoppy. It tasted citrusy as well and hoppy, more towards the end. A bit fruity and malty and very well-balanced. The mouthfeel was lovely too, smooth and medium consistency. Drinkability is good, as I could've had much more of this beer and I dont think i would've gotten tired of it or sick from it. All things considered, this is one hell of an IPA, and one hell of a beer in general.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew is fresh out of a 1/2 gallon grolwer thanks to all-star BA Tavernjef. So, I open the packaged, open the growler, and a loud "swish" sound ensues. This brew pours out of the growler with a medium reddish/orangeish copper colour with an ample head of foam that is as big as the rocky mountains. The aroma of this brew is huge. First there is the huge smell of freshly cut citric and floral hops. Than a lovely, English-like, buttery, biscuity, bready, malty aroma shines through. The taste follows suit. It is big bolshy hops up front, and lovely biscuity malts in the middle. The balance achieved in this brew is excellent. The hops hit first up front. They are bitter, but for a regular IPA, they are not too bitter. The hops are placed in the background when the middle of this brew comes through with the flavors of buttery biscuits, and fresh baked french bread. The hops come back in the finish of this brew, but this time they have been mixed in with the buttery flavor of the malts. The finish of this brew reminds me of the "candy coated" hop flavor in Weyerbachers Hops Infusion. This brew reminds me of what the Hops Infusion would taste like if Weyerbacher did it up right. The mouthfeel is perfectly balanced and reminds me of a pint of freshly pulled cask ale from England. The carbonation is soft, and luxurious, and really makes the flavor of this brew explode on your tongue and in your mouth. The after-taste is dry, but flavorful, and it produces some very heavy hop burps. Nice! The drinkability is perfect, as this brew has just the right abv, aromas, flavors, and textures to make it a reall "all-night-drinker". One hell of a session IPA, they really have to start bottling this stuff. The number one single IPA on BA for a reason, but to me, there are still a few IPAs and 2XIPAs that I like better. Still, if I lived close to this brewery, i'd be a happy camper!

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Photo of JeffreyG
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I had heard alot about this beer, but I hadn't been to Town Hall since my beer appreciation really got going. Expectations were high for this one and they were met and exceeded. Simply wow. This beer is amazing. The hazy orange color and the citrusy aroma are spot on. The flavor is very hoppy but with a pleasant malt balance. It's just damn enjoyable. Very tempted to give it all fives. I can't wait to have another.

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Photo of steorn
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful hazy orange-amber with a full white head.Fresh,bright,full hop nose.This is the smell of I.P.A.
Take a sip...Full hop attack,citrus,resin,and oh so chewy nice.There is some malt to give balance but this ones all about the hops.Drink in hoppy happy swigs and the flavors bounce all over your head.It lingers and keeps you company if you can wait that long.Sadly some days I get blown away after a couple of these.Yes im proud to be a mamas boy.

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Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I know about the hype from this beer, but it was simply fantastic. It was hazy orange-gold in color, with a white head. Smells of grapefruit, floral, and hops. Big hops and grapefruit flavor, with a nice finish that leaves your lips smacking. Most of the people I was with couldn't handle this, it is only for bona fide hopheads. This is definitely the best beer at Town Hall.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Thanks to my new friend FeloniusMonk for a growler of this beauty.)
Pours an copper color with an orange/honey tint along with a thick white head. Medium lace that is sticky against the side of the glass. Aroma is all hops 24 hours a day. Wow that is one hoppy beer !. Very floral, resiny and oily. All the classic hop notes of grapefruit, citruc, etc. are present. Almost as if a pouch of hops was opened fresh.
Taste is wonderful light to medium-bodied malt then an amazing hop bitterness rush that almost takes it too far but then stops and finishes with a semi-creamy flavor. The flavors in the beer are almost overpowering but they work in great concert together. Really great beer that is super rich but gets better with each pint.
Really phenomenal beer.

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Photo of Morris729
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received as part of the first GIF (Growler-It-Forward).
Pours a deep hazy copper color with a very thick and tall off-white head that slowly recedes leaving behind sticky spider webs of lace. The aroma is apparent from across the room with lots of floral hops with strong notes of pine and citrus. At this point, there’s no doubt that if you love hops, you’re in for quite a treat. Taste begins with an initial sugary sweetness, but that is soon replaced by flavors of juicy citrus fruit, oily pine resins, raw hop tannins, and grapefruit rind that are mouth-puckeringly delicious and leave a bitter coat on your tongue that remains until you take the next sip. Absolutely one of the top IPAs I’ve ever had the privilege to drink. Thanks to BREWER912 for the sample!

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Photo of Jarod
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from Tavernjef.

This beer poured a copper/amber color that had a slight chill haze to it, but you could see that it was well carbonated. The head that it produced was full, thick, sticky, dense and about 1-2 inches thick and it lasted for sometime before it fell to a slight skim on the surface with a thick ring around the edges. This produced a decent lace along the insides of the glass that were intricate and sticky and when dried had to be scrapped off of the sides of the glass. The aromas that came from the glass were dominated by hops when first poured and cold, but as it warmed additional aromas came through the nose. Smells of flowers, fresh hops, citrus fruit, grass clippings (while cold), as it warmed additional caramels, sweet malts, bitter orange peel, grains, and hints of vanilla were present as well. The flavors were much like the aromas, first cold pour produced fresh hop, green grass, pine, citrus, flowers and hints of malt, as it warmed these additional flavors became present – orange peel bitterness, caramel, sweet malts, more citrus and hops, some grainy dryness near the end and finished off with fresh grass and fresh hops. The aftertaste was of pint trees, flowers and grass. Medium bodied. Slightly bitter, slightly sweet, dry and hoppy all can describe this beer with every swallow. Strong hop flavors are all through this beer but are well balanced by the sweet flavors of caramel and malt. A well-balanced beer in all aspects. IMO this beer is good when it is served cold, but when allowed to warm just a few degrees this beer goes from a good beer to a great beer.

Thanks to Jeff for the Growler and the chance to try this beer.

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Photo of Bighuge
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a perfect shade of copper. A medium sized creamy looking egg shell colored head graces the surface. The retention is excellent. Lace patterns are intricate and web like. Eye Candy? Oh yeah. But it gets better.

The aroma is exquisite. The nose blends heavy hop attributes like pine resin, burning leaves, pungency, citric tones and orange rind with an underlying caramel malt sweetness. Makes for one helluva a blend that leaves you breathless.

The flavors subject your senses to more of the same. The caramel malt sweetness and some brown sugar lay down the foundation. The heavily pungent resin attributes are the main course though. I don't think the IBUs are off the charts by any means with this one, but the hop flavors are delicious. Adding to the pungency is a nice grapefruit/orange rind quality. And also some pine sap. The bitterness is nice and appropriate for the style.

The mouthfeel is creamy and the body is about medium-full. I love drinking this IPA. One of my favorites. Thus I give drinkability a 5.

This is top of the line material here. And very consistent to boot. I've had many gallons of this big Mama over the past few years, and have yet to experience a subpar offering (let alone a bad one). This one is tops!!

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, but extremely rich looking copper...nice little frothy head on top...the nose is sweet, fresh and fruity....some citrus but also some sweeter fruits..like a cocktail of grapefruit/strawberry/mango...

The taste is big on the west coast citrus..grapefruit big-time...big juicy hop flavors...very big bitterness...not for the weakhearted...malt is secondary all the way...hops dominate...The mouthfeel is almost slightly unbalanced as the hops overwhelm but what the F#ck, this is an IPA right?? Bitter me up!!

This will be too bitter and hopped up for some..I lvoe it but a little more balance would make this even better..hops heads will love this...good for a pint or two...tough to drink a lot more in one sitting..

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was my first cask-condition ale, and I gotta say it was amazing. The server brought it out to me and it had a huge cascading effect. My anticipation just grew watching it cascade. It eventually settled to a hazy orangish/bronze color with a thick, creamy tan head. It left excellent lacing while I sipped it down. The aroma exploded with a huge fruity, citric smell. The flavor was full of fresh fruity/citric hops. It left you with a nice bitterness, but not too overpowering. It was really silky smooth; very easy drinking. I would definitely drink this beer again.

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Photo of ADR
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the brewpub...

Huge hazy peach to dark orange color. Carbonation drops and drops in the pint glass like a dense fog over London...sheets of lace. Tight 1/4 inch of foam at the top. Bright and sweet mandarin orange hoppy aroma. Super flavors, marmalade and peach derived from hoppiness and balanced by a mid mouth sugary malt backbone. Velvety mouthfeel, slight balsamic aftertaste. Outstanding combination of smell, flavor and mouthfeel...silky, but challenging. Wonderful rendition of an IPA here...this is a fine brewpub beer, one of the best local India Pale Ales you can find as a Minnesota resident or visitor...one of the world's finest beers? No, that's pimpin' and the power of an active imagination mainly -- but it is a very good entry and a nice placeholder for Town Hall...

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Photo of beernbbq
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beauty all the way around. Strong sweet malt, spicy aromatic hops, big healthy body. I would definitely rank this up there with Victory Hop Devil, my all time favorite. I forgot to ask if they bottle it so I could take a sixer home. Definitely next time. If you are going to have one beer at Town Hall, make it this one.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful bronze color, firm white head. Aroma is a bubbling, bristling bouquet of intensely fruity hops, just what I love in an IPA! Great citrus, grapefruit, peach notes, on the palate a huge bite of hops, but mellow thereafter. Tingly and tasty, this should please any hophead. If I was a teaching assistant at the nearby U of M and I just got away from the maddening throng, this would be my solace. If I was an actor at any of the nearby theaters and I got off the boards before bar close, I'd rush here for my relief. Heck, I'm going to make it my business to have more business in this neighborhood, just to enjoy this beer more often.
Did I mention that I liked it?

10-04-03...the above was written in the infancy of my relationship with this beautiful brew, and our affair has only grown stronger. Sure, at times, I try another style on occasion, you know, variety is the spice of life and all, but it's this Bad Mama Jamma I always come back to on every visit, and I'm visiting more often to taste her sweet juiciness, and nearly every night, at home, through the magic of growlers. Consequently, I've tweaked the numbers a tad to reflect how addictive and seductive this gorgeous gal really is!

Over a year later, 1-09-04, I still don't think I've impressed on you all how magnificent this brew is, and I've touched up my ranks even further, for I can find no flaw at all, everytime I drink it, it's perfection! Everytime it touches my lips, happiness ensues, and an incredible case of hop burps begins!

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.