Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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662 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 662
Hads: 1,273
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 5.94%
Wants: 847
Gots: 67 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 662 | Hads: 1,273
Photo of ArrogantB
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this growler from skipanoka2, thanks a lot man I've wanted to try this for years. Split this three ways so I had a good 21 ounces of this stuff. Color is dark orange and the head is billowing and huge, no lack of carbonation here. Smells like caramel and a bit of hops thrown in for good measure. The taste is really chewy caramel with a bit of pine and a very strong bitterness on the finish, very bitter. Overall I liked it. (435 characters)

Photo of Heatwave33
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64oz Town Hall growler into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Amber with an off white head.

Smell: Sweet notes from fruit, nice hops

Taste: Hops, sweet tone, grapefruit

Mouthfeel: Smooth and Dry

Overall: Delicious IPA! Thanks to my brother bringing this back from the brewery on his trip to Minnesota. Love the sweetness and hop bitterness. Great balance. Cheers! (379 characters)

Photo of Klym
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Unmitigated thanks to klikger for this wonderful growler. Really, the best trader. Poured into a surly pint glass.

A: As dark as IPAs get, a translucent raisin brown/red. A nice off-brown head of foam leaves draping lacing all over the glass.

S: Milky caramel, a little bit of hazelnut, nougat, and caramel swirl together with an expert craft slightly pine hop character. This is really different but damn it just smells delicious, and it all comes together too well.

T: An initial hoppy caramel taste comes through and transitions into a nougat, slight dark fruit middle that builds into a bitter toffee and hop ending. So different, and mad delicious.

M: A medium-heavy body that has enough creaminess to support its sweeter side and enough carbonation to make sense of the hops. Really perfect balance for the taste profile.

O: I didnt know what to expect and I was very, very happy. This is an amazing IPA. You really can't get more flavor out of a single IPA. This sort of caramel/toffee/nougat taste was blended and balanced so well with the hoppiness, I cant not give this an A. (1,094 characters)

Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass at the brewery on 10/14/11.

Pours a Very pretty amber with an off-white head of 2 fingers. Very clear not a hint of sediment. Huge large bubble lacing all over the glass. I can't fault this beer on its appearance.

Smell is of citrus and a little of that earthy hops as well as some gentle malt sweetness in the background. I love masala but every time I have it I wish there was a stronger citrus hop aroma. Great smell though.

Taste is tons of bitter citrus hops and a nice balance of sweet malt. This beer has a great bitter character up front and then the mat smoothes everything out at the end of the pallet.

Mouthfeel is moderate and it has a great carbonation that lets it just trickle through your pallet and down your throat. Good dryness keeps it fresh but delicious.

Overall there is a reason this is in the top 100. Wonderful appearance, a solid smell, a taste that is swarming with hops but has a nice malt on the back end, and the dry mouthfeel keeps you wanting more. What can I say my favorite single IPA. (1,050 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.91/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz. growler poured into multiple pint glasses. My wife was supposed to help me drink this, but I ended up with a solid 48 oz. of it!

Appearance - Deep amber, maybe copper body with a nice, creamy off-white head. The lacing is tremendous. A continuous coat of foam down the sides and all over the top of the beer. Well made, but very dark for an IPA, especially a single IPA.

Smell - I don't get the pungent hop aroma I expected from an IPA rated so well. Sure, it's citrusy and piney in equal measures, but really I get a lot of biscuit malts. The aroma just isn't all that strong, either. When it's cold I don't get much of anything.

Taste - Taste is good, though. Definitely a strong hop flavor up front. Again, equal parts citrus and pine, which pair well with a toasted malt backbone. Lots of malt, though. It reminds me of an amped-up English IPA. The finish is toasty and very bitter, almost unpleasing.

Mouthfeel - That aftertaste takes away a little bit, but otherwise it's easy drinking. Good thing, too, because 48 oz. of this would be tough to put away otherwise.

Overall - A solid IPA. Not something I'd seek out again, but if I was in MN, I'd make the trek to the Town Hall brewery for it. Other MN IPAs definitely stand above this one, though. (1,265 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.71/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to injuredreserve for the growler pour.

Pours a nice rich garnet color, with a good 2 fingers of cream colored head. Nice spongy lacing.

Big floral notes, with a good deal of citrus but a huge caramel malt backbone.

Floral hoppiness, with a pleasant bitter bite, and again, a very rich maltiness. Definitely pretty hoppy, but just as malty too.

Creamy, full bodied for an IPA. Good feeling stuff.

Drinkability is good, and overall, it's a really well done IPA. (475 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to younger35 for the hookup on this growler. Split with angrybabboon. Filled 9/19/2011. Consumed 9/24/2011.

Appearance: Deep copper with strong orange tone. So pretty. Head is off-white, slightly thick, creamy, and rocky. Leaves some solid lacing. Head dwindles to a thin cap on the beer that lasts for the duration. A little darker than I would have expected, but it's damn near perfect.

Smell: Biscuity malts, and a big hit of 'em too. mango, citrus, and a touch of pine, but it's all about balance on the nose. Caramel malts, straight up bitterness, pith, and a solid sweetness to round it out. Bread crust. Floral hops abound. Big oily hop presence.

Taste: Caramel malts. Straight bitterness comes through each sip and builds without ever letting up. Pith in it's purest form, outside of real pith that is. Sweetness is solid and welcome addition to the hop attack. Still about balance, just like the nose. By the end of the growler, the hops had obliterated any chance at balance.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinks like a champ. Medium body lends itself to the style overall.

Overall: Definitely worth seeking out. I'm wondering what the difference is between 5-day old and straight off the tap is, but 5-day old is damn tasty. Raw hop aggression, but it has enough malt to make it highly drinkable. (1,354 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of dougofthefuture. Thanks Doug. Pours a reddish amber with a finger tall white head that has good retention and lacing. The aroma is bready malt, biscuit, a lot of mango, and a bit of pine. The taste is sweet bready malt, some biscuit, a bit of pine, with mango flavors coming in late. Nowhere near as much mango as in the aroma. The finish is bready with a decent bitterness. Light bodied and very drinkable. Medium-low carbonation. I really enjoyed the mouthfeel. Not the best IPA I have had, but quite good. Definitely one of the better malt forward IPAs. The aroma is quite awesome, but the taste is slightly disappointing. (645 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Marsala Mama IPA was quite good. the Appearance was a nice copper color and clear. The beer had a nice white thick head that laced great. The smell was a combination of hop (four hops used - amarillo, cascade, centinnial, and semcoe (I think I have it right) and malt. the malt is used to balance the flavor and bitterness of the hops. The taste was very good, but not as nice as the West Bank. The combo of hops gave pine and citrus notes with some bitterness that was balanced by malt. The mouthfeel was good, but 1-3 per sitting would be sufficient. (556 characters)

Photo of Retail1LO
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a trade with biglobo8971.

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

Pours a very distinctive amber color. Very dark for an IPA. Head was a hardy 2-3 fingers. After the first few sips, this leaves a copious amount of lacing down every bit of glass it comes in contact with. The nose is rife with hops and citrus. A wonderfully scented brew. The taste just explodes on your tongue. A fruity, hoppy, slightly malty festival of flavors going on. It's not a monster hop bomb, which is refreshing. The mouthfeel is extraordinary. Smooth and creamy, it's unlike any previous IPA I've ever had. I could leave a mouthful of this in my mouth for several seconds just letting it roll around. A truly wonderful experience. I plan on savoring each serving from this growler, then quickly looking forward to the next time I get to enjoy it. (844 characters)

Photo of stupac2
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to theduderules for the growler! Technically sent to my girlfriend, but who's counting?

Pours a very deep reddish brown, surprisingly dark for an IPA. Smell is solid for an IPA, but nothing spectacular. Taste follows it up, very solid hop presence, not overly malty, definitely along what I expect for the style. But, as with the smell, I'm not blown away.

Overall it's a good beer, if I could drink it regularly I definitely would. (441 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to beefmental for this growler... Been trying to procure this one for a while and he finally hooked me up!

This pours much darker than I was expecting... Burnished copper almost... Nice carbonation though...

Decent hop aromas here... Citrusy and piney although the malts are much more prevalent than I would expect... Still pretty good though... Top 5? Not so sure of that...

Deep piney flavors mix with rich toasted malts for a rather balanced brew... Sort of sweet in places... Reminds me a lot of SN Torpedo... Very hop forward mind you but more piney than citrusy...

A nice little brew here although I'm not sure it would make my top 10 IPAs... Still nice to have been able to had... (702 characters)

Photo of Soonami
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Rich (phillybeer7779) for sharing this special growler.

Masala Mama is a dark orange amber with a thick sticky head. The beer explodes with piney cascade hops. Malty smoothness on the tongue with a nice burst of grapefruit juice in the end. There is no alcohol harshness. The beer is a little bit lacking in malt body and the low alcohol is probably a signal of this as the botts are a bit too harsh in the finish. Overall this is very good, but I think the hype and lack of dsitribution drives up demand for this beer over what is deserved. (549 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to funkydelic for sharing this one! Served from growler into a Mikkeller flute. Poured red-orange with a one finger white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, butter, citrus, and citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The caramel note I got on the nose did quite well with balancing out the acidity of the citrus notes I was getting and made it quite pleasant on the nose. The flavor was also nice with the butter character mixed in with the citrus acidity as well. Just a well done brew that I would enjoy having again and again. A definite must try even if you aren't trying to tick the Top 100 list. (857 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

64oz growler thanks to UMNbeerhunter, this one was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Masala Mama pours a surprisingly dark amber. Backlighting provides ample orange highlights, and the beer is just short of totally clear. The ivory colored head creeps up to three fingers in height on the first pour, and remains relatvely robust through further top offs. Head retention is solid, as is lacing. The nose is an absolute citrus and tropical fruit bomb, it's like I was punched in the nose by grapefruit, mango, and pineapple. I swear, it's like Town Hall had a direct line into my brain when it came to putting Masala Mama together, as it's everything I could ever want from an American IPA. It tends towards the west coast profile in terms of how much sweetness, but it's not as absolute bone dry as the most extreme examples. That tiny bit of caramel sweetness serves as a base for what is a master class in hop utilization. The bitterness is striking, yet not an all out assault on the palate the way an imperial IPA might be. At the same time, the hoppy flavor payoff is most rewarding, mirroring the nose in it's citrusy and fruity notes. I'm shocked Simcoe isn't in the hop lineup, and I may end up copying the actual hops used for my next homebrewed IPA. The carbonation is spot on, active enough to help the hops really shine through, yet not distractingly bubbly. The body is just a touch heavy for the relative lack of sweetness present, but that's a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. I feel relatively comfortable saying that Masala Mama is the best American IPA I've ever had, and is definitely a beer I'll be looking to acquire more of in the future. (1,665 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: Do not base a beer review off drinking it when you have an ear infection. Yeah, I was totally underwhelmed with this when I drank my first beer of it. 72 hours later, I was much happier (because the taste was back and my infection was gone).

Anyways, you probably want to know about the beer more than my inner ear. Darker than most ipas, this one came out light brown, good size head to it. Amazing aroma, really did well with the dry hopping here, simcoe, amarillo and some others I'd guess, maybe even summit. Piney.

Bitterness held in check, quite malty delivery here, was pretty surprised about this one. Caramel sure, but the color and the smoothness had me thinking there was more to this than the ol' standby caramel description, perhaps even some darker tropical type fruit or toffee presence to get it smoother, darker etc. . .

A definitely worthy ipa, but top 100? Come on, there's simply not enough Minnesota ipa's out there to divide homerism amongst. Furious and this are damn good beers, don't get me wrong.

Alpine makes 5 better ipas. Pizza Port makes 5 better ipas. But because there's a million of them in that neck of the woods. . .you know how it goes.

Check this out though, I wasn't disappointed, but I also think its clearly at the top of the second tier of very good ipas rather than where it is collectively here. (1,350 characters)

Photo of Phelps
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the Town Hall brewpub.

Perfectly clear amber with a one-finger head of khaki colored foam that grips the walls of the glass fully.

This one’s brewed with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Mt. Hood — and it shows. Grass, mango, orange peel and a light sticky character. Softly sweet caramel malt in the background.

More dank sticky weed on the flavor. Bright and zesty, with grass and grapefruit peel, honey sweetness and lightly toasted bread. It’s a bit heavy on the hops — I could use more malt.

Bit thin and insubstantial in body. Light and soft massaging carb, moderate fizz, and just a bit of tongue-numbing booze.

Masala Mama has a lot of supporters, but it’s a bit too one-sided for me. The hop complexity is great, but it needs more malt to back it up. (790 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64oz growler from GripitandSipit (thanks!). Best by date: 8/8/11. Growler filled 7/31/11, and drank 8/4/11. Poured into DFH Signature glass.

A: This one pours a nice clear amber color with some faint orange notes. About a finger and a half off white frothy head. Really surprised by the great carbonation from the growler. Some really nice lacing on the glass.

S: You get a really floral head, but will balanced with caramel malts (?). I got a little bit of citrus, but also some piney hints. A good malt backbone.

T: This is a very clean looking and tasting APA. You get a crisp hop bite on front of tongue, beautiful balance at the middle, then a nice smooth close. It's really well balanced, I took away lots of fruity hop flavors but by no means a hop bomb.

M: Light to medium (barely). Really easy drinker with the low ABV.

O: This is a really really nice APA. A great summer beer or whenever. Nicely clean and crisp. With low ABV this I could drink all day/night. Love it! (983 characters)

Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.78/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stopped through Town Hall Tap on a nine hour trek from northern MN down to Omaha, NE - way out of the way but well worth the trip.

Beer poured a deep amber redish/orange with two fingers of thick frothy head that hangs for quite awhile - leaves a substantial amount of sticky lacing coating the glass. The aroma comes through with super resinous and piny scents and some citrus and slight caramel backing it up. The taste has a good balance of hops and malt with neither of them taking the lead - nice and sweet up front with a good bitter bite and malt backing at the end - nothing truly impressive here but it is quite refreshing. After having a sampler of a handful of different beers this was a nice change for a hophead like myself. Very glad I stopped and extremely impressed with the service and the knowledge the bar keeps and servers had. For sure stopping by again next time!

Enjoy! (895 characters)

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to skipanoka2. Thanks for the trade Nate. Had this last night, on the label it has best before date of August 10th, it was filled on monday night so it should be ok, though it made a plane flight as well. Still tasted good to me.

A: Looks amazing, such a deep color that I would call blood orange with outstanding head retention and killer lacing. Thats a 5 for look for sure.

S: Very interesting and unique nose for an IPA, almost like a Belgian IPA or hoppy red, something with extra malt and yeast to it. Huge vegetable mixture of hops with some citrus rind, and then lots of spicy grainy malts as well, quite malty but not in the scary oxidized way. Good.

T: Very nice taste, and the first thing that jumps out is a earthy maple like taste with caramel forward. Some piney hops and grassy hops as well in the taste, quite nice. Crisp and clean finish with a mix of toast and vegetable flavors lingering slightly. Sugary citrus is certainly present in the mid palate as well as something I can only describe as a foresty taste. A malt forward and very unique and tasty beer here.

M: Malty and semi bitter with a clean finish, little bit of lingering bitters.

Overall a great beer that I would love constant access to, though for me just a bit more hops is what I usually like in IPAs. Great to have though and I'll order it if I ever go to Minneapolis. (1,380 characters)

Photo of warnerry
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the brewpub

A - Pours clear copper with one finger of light brown head. Head has okay retention and leaves a fairly small amount of lacing.

S - pine and citrus, with some other tropicals thrown in. Also a good amount of caramel malt. Quite good overall.

T - Similar to smell. Pungent pine and citrus rind. A few floral flavors and a bit of tropical fruit. There is definitely a nice malt presence to balance things out, but the hop bitterness persists all the way through. Nice to get so much flavor from a modest abv IPA.

M -medium mouthfeel. A bit lighter than most IPAs. Nice lingering bitterness.

O - Very good all the way through. Glad I got to try this. (667 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler from biglobo8971 as part of ongoing Regional Growler GIF.
Poured into an imperial pint glass.  Beer was a clear, dark orange color, with a two-finger, off-white head.  Light carbonation and thick lacing around the glass. 

Aroma was hops and pine, but also heavy on the caramel and sweet side. 

Taste was bitter hops, citrus fruits, biscuit, caramel and malt.  Well balanced. 

Long, dry, bitter finish.  Somewhat oily and slick.  Love it.  Really thankful for the growler. (498 characters)

Photo of tjkinate
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my second beer at the brewery from a recent trip up to Minnesota.

A: Have to say it was only slightly above average due to its small head and ok lacing. I did enjoy the dark amber appearance which I don't see very often with this variety.

S: Pungent hops overwhelm the other smells, but orange and pine do poke their way through toward the end.

T: Amazingly balanced beer, have to say one of the best single IPAs I have had in awhile. Many may disagree, but after having a few sips of this beer PTE kept coming to mind.

M: Well carbonated, medium bodied

O: Pretty solid IPA, especially in the flavor department. To me this beer could be exceptional if they worked on that head and lacing. (703 characters)

Photo of dubinsky
3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a Deschutes snifter. Date on the growler was 6/17/11.

A - The beer pours a very dark rust orange with a nice fluffy khaki color head. The head seems really sticky as it clings with dear life to the sides of the glass with some serious head retention. Eventually the head subsided leaving behind a great looking lace.

S - This is not at all what i expected from a Midwest IPA. Very reminiscent of a West Coast IPA. Fairly piney and resiny with hints of sweet mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. The longer it sits in the glass the more caramel malt i pick up from aroma.

T - Well, the taste is definitely not as west coast as the smell suggested, rather its pretty malt forward with a delicate sweetness present. Very piney and slightly grassy. To Citrus to speak of. The beer is a great example of a Midwest IPA that ranks up there with the big boys.

M - I think i sat on this beer too long. Believe it or not i had a hard time finding someone worth of splitting a growler with and ended up decanting most of it so that i can drink it by myself. The beer is medium bodied, but i fear the carbonation suffered a bit. Its still carbonated, but nearing the flat end. I will not judge this beer based on this category.

O: A great IPA that i wish was more readily available here. Luckily i have great IPA here, but this would be a regular if i didn't have to trade for it. (1,398 characters)

Photo of ncmussell
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Town Hall Brewing. Nice white foamy head with good appearance in the glass. This has a perfectly subtle nose with nice hops presence. The mouthfeel on this never let's your down nor does the taste. Good mix of hops and fruit create a great balance in this beer. You can never go wrong with this beer. (314 characters)

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 662 ratings.