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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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1,235 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,235
Reviews: 664
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 831
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: 1,235 | Reviews: 664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joepais
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Buebie for sending this long time want my way.
Fresh growler poured into a standard pint glass produced a finger worth of creamy looking head that settled to a thick lace that slides down the glass as you drink it. The body of the brew is a clear somewhat amber copper in color, with tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma hit me as soon as I opened the growler it is an incredible citric smell that wafts threw the air. I put my nose into the glass and it only gets better nice pine and floral hop's come into my head making the drinking experience even better. The flavor is well balanced the way I like my IPA's there is enough sweetness from the malts to keep the hops bitter in check. Don't get me wrong there is enough bitterness in this but, the sweetness makes you come back for more and more of this wonderful nectar. The body of the brew is medium in my mouth with great carbonation for my tongue even from a growler.

This growler isn't lasting long if that is any indication of how drinkable this brew is. I will be going for a second growler of this if possible, in the near future. Truly deserving to be in the top 100 and a must try in my book

Photo of Lothore
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep transparent orange color with a nice, thick, chewy, off white head.

S- Smell is dominated by citrus and grapefruity hops with some sweet caramel malt in the background.

T- Nice and bready, substantive with citrus notes all the way through. A very bitter grapefruit finish stays on the tongue long after the brew is gone.

M- Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

D- This was an excellent IPA. I went in this expecting to be disappointed because of it's high rating (which I thought it couldn't live up to) but I was certainly wrong. If this was available around here it would be my go to.

Photo of Sean9689
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a growler into my nonic.

A - Pours reddish/copper with a off-white head which vanishes and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S- A mix of hops and malts with a slight sweetness, a perfect balance of hops and sweetness...nice!

T - Floral hoppy flavor (not a whole lot of grapefruit/citrus), which I really like and a slightly bitter finish...very clean and smooth

M - Very "slick", coats the inside but not a think beer by any means. Perfect carbonation from the growler.

D - I would drink this beer every single day if I wasn't so far away. One of my favorite IPAs of all-time.

Photo of bsp77
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally made it to Town Hall! And they have Masala Mama on cask!

Serving glass: Cask pour into Pint Glass.

Appearance: Hazy reddish-orange, thin head but considerable lacing. Love the way the cask pour looks as it settles, which took a couple minutes.

Smell: Citrus, pine and bitterness. Very slight malt presence, but not much.

Taste: Similar to smell - citrus, pine and very bitter. Small malt presence leading to a soft sweet counterbalance. However, the malts don't provide too much balance, this is an especially bitter IPA.

Feel: Expected feel for a cask beer, which is wonderful. Very, very dry.

Drinkability: Strong drinkability due to how smooth it is, but the persistant bitterness limits my intake.

Photo of TexIndy
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a growler in a trade with Deliriumfest - many thanks! Poured into a pint glass after letting warm up a bit. Growler opened with a loud hiss. It was a slightly hazy copper color with some carbonation and slight lacing. It had an average sized off-white head that settled into a partial thin film and good collar.

The aroma was excellent. Floral and citric hops as expected but missing the grapefruit hit that I usually find in the style. Aroma was great without it so didn't hurt it. The taste was amazing as well. Starts out smooth at first and then smack the hops hit and ramp up to a nice bitter finish. Get the great hop bite and finish and then fades so you are ready for next drink without shredding your tongue. Very drinkable. The only thing keeping from a 5 for me is that there was something just a bit off in the aftertaste. Tried but couldn't pin it down. It hit after the bitter started to fade and had a medicinal taste to it almost like penicillin. Odd but thankfully short lived. If this was straight out of the tap, I might knock it down more but since a growler that I was very fortunate to get I mostly let it pass. Mouthfeel was excellent. Great carb balance.

Overall, an amazing beer that deserves the high ranking and hype. Can't wait to try this fresh next year during my upper Midwest trip. Most highly recommend. Obviously not available here but if it was it'd find a home in my regular rotation. For now, more growlers trades and a trip are in my future.

Photo of stonequarrywest
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


Perfect Copper Color with a light fluffy head that has great retention and good lacing.

Excellent Nose of Hops and citrus with some floral notes

Taste was awesome..Piney and hoppy with a wonderful think and creamy mouthfeel. Carbonated to where it makes it dangerously drinkable..

A DIPA in a low ABV body. Cant wait to have some more...

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've heard about this, seen a ton of posts about this and never figured I'd get to try a fresh growler of this. A tip of the hat to Justn for sending me a fresh growler of this fine American IPA! Over 300 reviews as of this posting so I'll just affirm that it's got an amazing hop nose and a wonderful balance between intense hop flavors and nice bready sweet malts. Definitely worth trying if you get the chance!

Photo of hooliganlife
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


pours deep copper with a slight murkiness to it. light head and light retention. some lacing left on the sides.

HUGE citrus and floral hops, with a smidge more floral. very sweet smelling.

nice bitterness, a mix of pine and red grapefruit with light floral notes hidden. light malt backbone holding this together but is only really detectable in the back.

light carbonation and light in general, not too full. crazy easy to drink. could use a smidge more body.

this is amazing. stupid easy to drink and with a low ABV, this could not be more drinkable for an IPA

overall - ok, this is well worthy of its score. why? this is what many DIPA's taste like but this is an IPA with the DIPA flavor and w/o the DIPA ABV. this is your session beer for lovers of all things hops.


Photo of BZero007
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a Growler threw a trade, thanks to maximum12!

Pours a amber and cooper color with great head retention and lace. The aroma that this beer gave of was great!! Every time that I inhaled it seemed new to me. Lots of citrus hops with floral accents and fruits in the background. maximum mentioned to me that this was one of those rare beers that tasted different with every glass, and it really did live up to that. With every glass I was noticing more and more flavors being dominant. Dominant bitter hops power this brew for sure! with only the slight hint of malts in the background with floral notes. This could be a great session beer and was for me!!

Photo of Gyle41386
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks go out to br3wmeister for hooking me up with a growler.

Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Growler opened with a huge POP! Nice to see it held up so well after the trip from Minnesota to South Carolina.

Pours a darker orange version of amber. Amazing giant fluffy head. Excellent retention. Thick rings and big chunks of foam everywhere. Leaves behind gorgeous spiderwebs of lace. Phenomenal looking beer.

I love this aroma. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love big citrus in my IPA's. Well, Masala Mama is giving me bushels of sweet citrus in my nose. It's funny, because I've never considered myself a fan of grapefruit, but I absolutely LOVE grapefruit in my IPA's. Who knew? Maybe I should give the actual grapefruit itself another shot.

Flavor is as delicious as the nose. Nice pine in the finish and aftertaste. In the land of BA, where double/triple IPA's and imperial stouts are king, it's nice to see a beer like this holding it's own near the top. The caramel malt backbone provides superb balance. Some people may think that detracts from an IPA, but not me. There's a time and a place for super bitter hop bombs, and I enjoy them, but there's also a time and a place for a magnificently crafted IPA.

Medium body, nice creamy texture. I can't imagine another beer topping this in drinkability. Hey, Bud Light, take notice. This is how you make a truly drinkable beer.

I almost felt bad for marking so many 5's...well, not bad, but like I wasn't doing it right. After all, we're even told on this page that 5's should be rare (ie cannot improve anymore). Well, after reading the parenthetical statement, I stand by my 5's. I can't imagine this beer improving in any one of those categories without lowering the ratings of another, or moving the beer into another category.

Again, huge thanks go out to br3wmeister. This wasn't part of our trade. I just happened to mention I loved citrusy IPA's, and he said he'd be sending a surprise. And what a surprise it was.

Photo of glid02
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this courtesy of gford217 - thanks!

Pours a hazy copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head is surprisingly robust for a growler pour and the lacing is thick.

Smells of citrus and floral hops and lots of them. Some malt aromas are present, but the hops are certainly in charge.

Tastes a bit maltier than it smells. Big citrus flavors and milder pine flavors are backed up by a combination of pale and caramel malt flavors. The ending is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with solid carbonation that makes this go down very smoothly.

Drinkability is great. I could very easily polish off a growler of this.

Overall this beer didn't disappoint. The aroma is the best part about this beer, but the flavors and drinkability are not far behind. Definitely worth a shot, and thanks again to gford217.

Photo of Romulux
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is soft, velvety, seductive. A Nordic goddess if you will. Some piney notes on the smell, but subtle. Our goddess is into seduction and doesn't want to reveal too much, until you are in the web. Mouthfeel is amazing on cask. Creamy and smooth, this temptress is teasing you, but she delivers in the end. Taste is subdued yet powerful, we are not getting hit over the head here, like a west coast IPA. This woman is the total package.

Please, keep in mind. I am talking about this beer on cask, only. I enjoyed it on tap, but cask turns it into one of the best beers I have ever had.

Photo of russpowell
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cheers to justn for this one, been ready to try this for a while

Pours amber with 2+ fingers of rocky sand colored head. Stays effervescent throughout, superior head retention & lacing

S: A riot of grapefruit, piney hops, plus some floral hops

T: Earthy hops, biscuitty malt, grapefruit, plus flowery hops & a touch of dryness up front. Orange rind, pine sap & slight oaky dryness as this warms. Finishes slightly oily, crisp with grapefruittyness & a floral flourish, plus a bit more biscuitty malt

MF: Medium bodied, low but noticeable carbonation, superb balance

Great drinkability, the hops just pop, but enough malt balance ensures my interest never sways...Superior AIPA, with a toe or two stuck across the pond

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler thanks to BDR (thanks Brad!). Pours a clear amber with a thick white head. Aroma of grassy hops, a touch of citrus, and sweet malt. Flavor is similar--mostly malty with nice bitterness in the finish. Sturdy palate. Not as citrusy as I like my IPAs, but I can't deny that this was a tasty one!
8/4/8/4/15 (3.9/5)

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 64oz growler to pint glass.

A: Pours a perfectly transparent copper body with a large puffy off-white head with amazing retention and la good amount of lacing, wish I could have given it a perfect 5 but lacing only made it down about half the glass. I did love pouring this one every time my glass was empty, the head is just beautiful when first poured.

S: Smells strong hops along with orange, grapefruit, and caramel malt along with a sugary note.

T: Tastes citrus hops with a grapefruit note turning into a decent amount of caramel maltiness accompanied by a sugar taste with an almost earth tone to it eventually turning into a bitter pine finish with hints of grapefruit peel. I won't say that this is the best beer that has ever touched my mouth, but for a standard American IPA this is above and beyond what I ever expected.

Overall: Good mouthfeel, well carbonated and medium in body with a nice oily feel as it warms up the carbonation comes out a bit more. Drinkability is amazing, I'm at about half a growler now but the entire thing will be no problem. Amazing beer, best of the style.

Photo of Fatduck
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best beers Ive ever had. It is well crafted, perfect for the style and supremely enjoyable.

Pours a crisp clear copper color, with a big rocky head that leaves a thick lace all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Smells like fresh hops, american citrus type hops, Im not good enough to pick them out.

Taste is pure bliss, Its crisp, and clean, the hops are there in spades and the malt sets a nice stage for them to be displayed, I simply love this beer. I'm glad to have this growler all to my self.

Smooth, clean, with a bit of carbonation on the way down.

I would recommend anyone in the twin cities area seek this out. GO TO TOWNHALL.

Photo of BLACKOUT0213
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

go to townhall brewery at 7 corners and try this beer. it is very good and has a fruity and hoppy taste. full body and very refreshing. plus there is a couple good looking waitresses there to bring your wonderful beverage. they also have a mango masala mama that tastes great as well. very good hoppy beer give it a try.

Photo of brow1901
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On cask at town hall earlier tonight. I want to start by saying that this is one the best beers ever.

A- The beer is pale amber red in color with a perfect two finger white head. The head dies only slightly, and sticks around throughtout the entire beer. The lacing that this beer leaves is so impressive, I couldn't even see through the glass it was so thick. When the beer first arrived the carbonation was beautiful, it created this wonderful cascading effect that made the beer look like it was separating colors.

S- The smell on this beer was wonderful, but not overly impressive. Hops are the dominating smell, the malt is there but its hard to detect.

T- Taste is super. The hops are not overpowering, they hit your tongue but it's not a hop bomb. The beer had less citrus (grapefruit) flavor and less pine flavors than I would have expected. The beer finishes dry. The mouth feel is perfect, the creamyness is wonderful in the mouth. I think the extra carbonation gives it a lighter body that is extra enjoyable.

D- This beer goes down easily, especially from the cask. The alcohol content isn't super high but these ones go down quick, pace yourself.

I don't know how anyone could resist such an excellent beer served at perfect temp with great mouthfeel. It's worth the extra buck!

Photo of jjanega08
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A= deep brown color almost orange but darker. Two finger head rises from it with great lacing all the way down. Good head retention is noticed as well
S= Grapefruit, pine and regular hop odors. you can notice some of the caramel grain used as well. A little sweet pineapple smell is also noticed
T= Bitter in a different way. Tastes a lot like the juice from an orange peel. Pine, grapefruit and orange. Some of the caramel malt comes through but not nearly as much as in the nose.
M= perfect.
D= really amazing beer. Love this one. Smooth and crisp yet challenging to the pallet very well crafted beer. If they could take the ABV down just a little it would be an amazing session beer.

Photo of WilliamD
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perfect amber into my pint glass. Nice, creamy two-finger head that slowly recedes throughout the drink.
Smells of hops & pine. Slight citrus aroma as well.
Very tasty. Very well-balanced as well, I must say. Some pine, hops, malt, pineapple, what not. Moderate level of bitterness.
Crisp, fresh mouthfeel. Slightly dry, and in a good way.
Quite drinkable. I'll be finishing this growler, and then cabbing to a buddy's place who most likely has nothing but Coors light on hand. I'll be bringing a sixer of single-wide IPA along. And I'll share with anyone who asks.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many cheers go out to justn for this growler.

Pours a beautiful copper with very active carbonation in my Sam Adams sensory glass. The head is of white and thick - and has stuck around quote a while.

Scent is very citrusy hops with a hint of pine. Very sweet in the nose and quite profound a character for a single ipa.

Taste is also quite distinctive for a regular ipa. Very smooth bit still citrus bitter, no sign of alcohol. This is an ipa lovers ipa.

Mouth is medium both in carbonation and body.

Extremely drinkable.. Shame to have to finish this growler myself, but at least that won't be an issue. Is this the best regular ipa? Probably, at least of those I have had. Does it belong in the top 20? I don't know that by definition any ipa couldnmeet that standard, but certai my as of pertains to style, this is the head of it's class.

Photo of csmiley
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to deliriumfest for the growler hookup.

A - Pours a radiant combination of amber and orange. The head is a shade away from white and tops out at an inch or more with each pour. Retention is better than expected. Some lacing remains in the glass. This is a very nice looking beer.

S - Pine sap and resin radiate from this one in abundance. Some of the sweeter fruity hops come in to back it up. I'm picking up orange and tangerine. A nice sugary caramel aroma comes through at the end and gets matched with a hint of bread. No alcohol can be found in the nose.

T - Pine comes through in the flavor pretty strong. It is quickly followed by some grapefruit. The hop profile has achieved quite a lovely balance of flavors. The bitterness level is close to perfect. Malt is present but stays relegated to the background to let the hops shine. Caramel and a touch of darker fruit are just perceptible at the very end. Alcohol is also missing from the flavor.

M - Medium bodied with a nice carbonation level. Finish is bitter and hangs on to the palate for just long enough.

D - Drinkability is very good. The low abv and tons of flavor keeps this one interesting throughout. Kind of tough to put the glass down actually. The hop flavors turned are wonderful and the balance is just right in my book. Score "one" for Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery. Highly recommended brew.

Photo of prototypic
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many, many thanks to csmiley for generously sharing the growler.

Appearance: It's a light golden brown color. It's clear and not hazy at all. The head is vanilla in color and maybe a finger and a half deep. It stuck around longer than I expected and left a nice lacing on the glass. It's a solid looking beer, but nothing about it really dazzles in any way.

Smell: The nose is nothing short of excellence. One could make an argument that it's the standard for what an American IPA nose should be. It's very good, but I'm not ready to go that far. There's loads of citrus sweetness initially. It's the typical gambit of pineapple, grapefruit, and orange. Hops smell pretty aggressive and waste little time taking over the nose. They're very citric and piney smelling and exemplary for the style. I haven't encountered an American IPA that tops this one in the hops department, at least as far as the nose goes. There's some light, sweet caramel malt that emerges and gives me a little pause. It's tough to tell how much effect that will have on the hops. I'm close to awarding a "5," but it's not quite perfect. The malts are just a little too pronounced.

Taste: The flavor is nothing short of excellent as well. This really is an incredibly well built American IPA. It is citrusy and sweet. Grapefruit, pineapple, orange flavors are nice and refreshing. The hops are something else though. They have an excellent citric and piney flavor. It's aggressively bitter, but damn it tastes good. Tastes like there's a mix of caramel and toasted malts. But, they really add a nice dimension to the flavor and do not detract from the strong hop attack at all. I couldn't have asked for any better in an IPA. I was fearful after smelling it that the malts would be a little too much. But, my fears have been relieved. Alcohol is not even close to noticeable. It finishes toasty, bitter, and very dry. There isn't a great deal of depth here. But, what is here is excellent. Not perfect, but excellent.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and has a really nice, smooth feel. Carbonation is active, but doesn't impede its smooth feel in any way. I'm not ready to call it creamy or lush, but it is nicely done. Drinkability is really off the charts. It's extremely tasty and goes down way too easy. At 5.9% abv, it's extremely inviting and not to dangerous. I'm splitting this growler, but would've happily tackled one by myself. Yes, it is that good.

Masala Mama is clearly an excellent IPA. It's easily among my favorites for the style. There really isn't a single flaw that's material enough to warrant a lot of discussion. It really is that solid all the way around. I think the degree of malt flavor really keeps it from being a "perfect" American IPA. It's not exactly a huge fault here, but it's enough to keep it from reaching a perfect flavor score. I guess I could perhaps also criticize Town Hall for not bottling and distributing Masala Mama. The world would be a better place if they would. But, I guess that doesn't really have anything to do with the beer. I'm just bitchin' to bitch obviously. Seek out a growler. You won't be disappointed.

Photo of LJArsenal
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Justn for setting me up with this Minnesota gem. Almost makes up for what the Vikings did to the Packers this year in Minneapolis. Almost.

Pours with foamy, off-white head about an inch and a half thick. Hint of head remains and leaves great lacing. Color is an opaque orangish-brown. Smell screams of hops. I also detect some hints of pine. Minimal carbonation in comparison to others of the same style. This is a great tasting beer and I'm happy to have acquired it so early in my trading career. The mouthfeel is as good as any I've come across in this style. The only detrimental comment I can make about this beer is the aftertaste it leaves - somewhat more sour than I'd expect. Overall, however, a fantastic brew that I can't wait to try again. Feeling good about the 3/4 full growler in the fridge.

Photo of Buebie
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this growler today at the brew pub. Cap reads a sell by date of 3-11-09.
Turned the cap and hear it pop followed by a nice hiss.
Poured from the growler into my surly tulip. Its a transparent amber with a bit of chill haze. 1 inch tan frothy head leaving awsome gritty lace all down the glass.

Aroma is pungeant with hops, I smelled it the second I popped the cap. Floral hop aroma, super purfumy pine with good hang time. Buscuity bready aroma with sweet carmelly smells.

The taste upfront is a blasting of the pallet with sweet fruity breadyness, great malt backing. Loads of pine and a touch of citrussy grapefruit. The taste on this is very refreshing.
At the swallow hop bittering comenses, obliterating my pallet. A long crisp hop linger with an earthy pine and a hemp like flavor.

Moutheel is crisp and clean, carbonation abundance, but not overwhelming. Its not thick by any means, its just right for the style.

This is a textbook example of what an IPA should be. Delicious!

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.