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Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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677 Reviews

Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
American style India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed using Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Mt. Hood hops. A beer with crisp hop flavor and bitterness well balanced with American malt sweetness.

Added by Jason on 01-01-2003

For Trade:
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Reviews: 677 | Ratings: 1,354
Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of rudzud
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade, pouredinto a Kate the Great tulip. Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured a nice crystal clear amber copper hue with a nice one finger white creamy head that just won't quit! Leaves a nice creamy blanket.

S - Aromas of light citrus hops and tropical fruit notes. Faint pineapple and mango. Wish it was a little brighter.

T - Taste is surprisingly bubblegummy, which I definitely wasn't expecting. Some slightly danker tropical hops with some light bready notes. Finish is lightly bitter with that lingering bubblegum flavour.

M - Mouthfeel is nice and light and drinkable. Enjoyable.

O - Overall this beer kind of threw me a curveball. I know the Growler is fresh, but it has almost an older hop feel to it. Still I respect and enjoy this one.

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

Poured a light orangish color with good carbonation. Nose is outstanding. Fresh hops, floral, dry itterness and caramel. Taste is very smooth and subtle. Floral notes, just enough hop bittering, balanced, light booze. Mouthfeel is a bit think, dry and floral. Very drinkable.

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

( Served in an American pint glass)

A-Slight hazy to this golden deep orange colored beer with a thick very creamy white head that last for quite a while.

S- Floral hops of pine with notes of light toasted malt and fresh grain. Very perfume nose.

T- Spicy green hops with pine and a hint of earthy hops slight toasted malt and support to the hops and a unique hop tanginess finishes with a nice hop bitterness.

M-medium-full mouthfeel with a nice chewy sensation

D-This is a very strong IPA that has lots of hops depth and is an amazing contender for the style. Very well done.

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Photo of akorsak
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A growler from a second trade with CH3CH2OH. It was shared with JohnnyM2002 and Phatz.

A: The ale is a copper red with hints of orange amber. The head has held up surprisingly well for a 12/28/06 (or so) bottled growler, large on pour before settling down to a white circle that covers the entire glass.

S: The aroma is big and hoppy, thick with lush pineapple and apricot. The aroma is huge and delicious, one of the best smelling pale ales (American, English, India or Double) that you'll come across.

T: The nose is big and hoppy, priming the drinker for a big hoppy ale, but Town Hall throws you for a loop. The body is a solid malty extravaganza, it doesn't roll over in front of the hops. The malty base is grainy and slightly sweet and provides an excellent base for the delicious hoppiness. The hops are citrusy, grapefruit, apricot, tangerine and most significantly pineapple. There is even a bit of piney sweetness popping up.

M: Hops! Malts! A well-mixed combination of the two, this IPA really brings everything together without amping up the alcohol and IBUs.

D: Incredibly drinkable. This really is the standardbearer for American IPAs. It mixes the big hops and strong malts so well. The moderate abv helps also, allowing one to have several pints without ill effect.

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

Had this on tap at the brewery. Pours a amberish orangish color with a 1 inch finger of head. Has nice lacing. Taste is very bitter with an old school hop flavoring. Lingering dry finish. Not much malt character with this beer. Overall an ok IPA.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a Growler of this in a trade with TastyTaste:

Poured a copper red with a nice thick head of foam. After a while, the foam shrinks down to a fine but solid layer and...look at all the lacing. Wow.

The smell is of citrus and pine and grass and has floral notes as well. Nice smelling IPA that's tickling my smell buds.

The taste up front is hugely hoppy with grapefruit, pine, grass...a wide variety of bitter tones all in one ale and they work really well together. Heck, midway through and just before the finish there's even a good amount of caramel malt.
The finish is superb, leaving me with a good, long aftertaste that let's me savour the flavours long after the liquid has left the scene of this....anti-crime. ;^)

The more I sip on this one, the more I *want* to sip on it...great batch of tastes but easy drinking, light on the carbonation, refreshing as all heck...

Bottom line: I give a big salute to TastyTaste for enabling me to try this wonderful nectar. I *love* it!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a mostly clear, glowing orange color. Thinner head. It leaves smaller rings of lacing.

S-Big juicy citrus notes. Highly hopped complementary aromas of tropical fruits and grass. Freshly squeezed hoppiness with resinous notes. Lightly balanced by some dough and caramel.

T-A huge duet of tangerines and grass. Light mango and serious, lingering piney bitterness. The bitter aftertaste lasts and lasts. Light breadiness as well as caramel come in but quickly give way to the erupting bitterness.

M-Super drinkable. Agreeable body with softer carbonation. Again, long, seemingly endless bitter aftertaste which I loved.

O/D-A really awesome IPA. Maybe a step below elite but it clearly delivers. A definite winner. Wouldn't complain if I had this again!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled and provided in trade by StuBob. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, a dense, frothy 1" beige head formed over the cloudy, orangey amber brew. Head fades slowly, and leaves nice, heavy lacing. Aroma is a tinge of sweet malts, quickly overpowered by bitrusy hops character. Taste as well starts with sweetness, but overshone promptly by the hoppiness. Had hoped for a tad more citrus over the tongue, and a little less in the bitter department, but that's almost quibbling. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent. I can only imagine what this is like at the source. Maybe someday...

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Photo of DrJay
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks goes out to grub for sending me a growler during his recent visit to the twin cities. After chilling for a day, I popped this baby open. Off the pour, I got a creamy 1" head of dense, yet rocky, off-white foam. Things receded a bit, but plenty of head stuck around to produce thick, clumpy lacing. Very balanced aroma, with some malt sweetness providing counterpoint for the tangerine and piney hops (with a little grapefruit too). Solid bitterness with significant malt sweetness to start, along with some floral orange, grapefruit and pine. The bitterness slowly grew into the finish, where it became fairly intense. Along the way there were notes of toasted, biscuity malt and peaches. Kind of a sweet-tart character too. Medium bodied with medium/low carbonation. A bit creamy on the palate too, with some hop dryness. Overall, this has great balance. My taste buds were put through a work out but didn't get tired too fast, which let me enjoy quite a bit of this in a single sitting. I'd love to try this at the brewpub. Highly recommended and not overhyped.

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Photo of tigg924
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at thebrewery:

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, golden-brown in color, clear

Smell: tangerine, citrus, frsh hop--a really amazingly fresh smell

Taste: The big citrus, orange and tangerine flavors burst in the start followed by a touch of pine and light caramel backbone

Mouthfeel: bitter but not overly so,very dry end, medium carbonation, medium bodied

Overall: Liked this one a lot. Not sure if it is my top 50 but a very good beer and worthy of hype. I love the smell and the citrus here. I would get this again.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to egrace84 for the share! Thanks Elliot!

reviewed from notes taken tonite.

poured into tulip glass:

Appearance: Amber orange bodied beer with small white head. sticky lacing left behind.

Smell: Very resinous hop notes; dank, juicy, fresh, chalky. Big pine and big grapefruit rinds. Grassy and orangey too. Really hoppy nose not much smell noted from the malts.

Taste: Huge hoppy bitterness. Ridiculously resionous just like the nose on this beer. Really Dank stinky hops! Really big grapefruit rinds. Pine cones and pine needles. Grassy and a little bit chalky. The bitterness lingers around for a decent amount of time.

Mouthfeel: Low end of medium bodied beer. Moderate carbonation. This IPA is really drinkable, surprisingly...especially with all the big hoppy flavors coming out of this beer.

Overall: Brutally hoppy and redicoulously drinkable IPA. Whats a beer nerd not going to love about this beer? Hopheads seek it out! My first beer from this brewery and I am very impressed.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a tulip. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy reddish mahogany color that produced a great off-white head with good retention behind it. Left tons of lacing behind.

(S)- A big dryness with a bigger malt profile. Some good notes of lemon and lime.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. A bigger malt profile than most, but is counter acted with a good hop backbone of lemon and lime.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A happy medium between malt and hops. Bitter, but supplemented well with a big malt background and creamy citrus hops.

(D)- A good IPA. Maltier than most, but that does not really bother me when enjoying this one. A happy medium between malt and hop additions. Solid stuff.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

growler received from MeLikeBeer. Thanks a million for this! Split it with a BA johnmichaelsen and my brew buddy Jared.

A: Clear amber pour with a gorgeous beige head with great retention and beautiful lacing. Excellent

S: Piney, oily hops with the faintest hint of caramel sweetness. Sharp with a mild floral note.

T: Bitter but exceptionally well balanced. Starts off with a pleasant hop bite with pine and a thin malt presence. Great drying finish with a pleasant bitterness

M: Pleasant carbonation, nice oily mouthfeel, nice dryness on the finish

D: Insanely drinkable, i could have drunk a growler by myself.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me start by saying the hype alone made me really want to like this beer. axeman9182 hooked me up with the growler.
A: Poured a clear ruby amber. Huge fluffy white head which was gone in about a minute.

S: Grapefruit, pine, some floral hops, tropical notes. Very strong smell, yum!

T: Taste is similar to smell but much more muted. You get the piney and citrus hops, some of that highly sought after tropical fruit flavor. Its followed by a very slight sweet malt finish.

M: Light, airy body. Perfect carbonation for this style. Crisp.

D:Very drinkable. I shared the growler with another person but could have drank it myself.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than average ipa, this one is almost light brown. Aroma is its sweet spot, those Amarillo hops are all up in this one. Drops lots of pine goodness.

Taste is malty, but it holds the bitterness down relatively and allows more of those pine notes to drop on the tongue. A little bit of toffee. This is a good, 2nd tier ipa.

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

Big thanks to JeffKrenner for hooking me up with this for BC2 via Dark Lord Day! Served in a Town Hall pint glass from bax72 also from BC2. Thanks Chris and Jeff! Cap says 5-8 which I'm assuming means drink before May 8th, but I may be wrong.

Pours a very slightly hazy copper/orange, chunky white head forms, settles to a nice layer, tons of lace everywhere, looks really fantastic. Smell is heaveny, citrusy grapefruit, some pineapple, caramel, nice malts, very balanced, floral, bit of grass, very integrated, I think I get just a hint of chocolate malt too. Taste is very nice, like the aroma, nice caramelly malts, some pine, lots of grapefruity floral and citrus, very well balanced, and just the right amount of bitterness, bit of grassiness in the finish, very drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, little bit of warmth, but very smooth, perfect balance. One of the better IPA's I've had, kind of tastes like one of my own! Thanks again Jeff for providing this growler, its a great gift, and thanks to bax72 for the appropriate vessel!

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Photo of markgugs
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a growler into a pint glass, thanks to LordSloth for the trade (consumed: 2/15/08)

A: Pours a beautiful, rich copper with a fast-rising creamy off-white head that lasts forever and a day and immediately begins to leave sticky spiderweb lacing. The beer's clarity is also worth nothing, I could read a novel through this if I wasn't so preoccupied with getting it into my belly.

S: Mmmm...hops! My best guess is Cascade or Centennial, or a combination of the both of them, as pine & citric grapefruit scents are dominant. Not to be outdone though, there is a very nice cookie/bread malt character here as well.

T/M: I was expecting to be smashed in the taste buds with hops right up front, but an unexpected initial burst of sweet bready malts begins the journey, then followed by a smack of bitter citric hops, with a deliciously bitter grapefruit finish. Perfect levels of carbonation make this seem like a cream soda, the oils from the hops coat the tongue and leave your palate wanting more.

D: All I will say is that I wish like hell I had this beer available to me 24/7. Highest recommendation.

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

Growler opened on 4.17.12 thanks to Schlais.

A - Pours a dark, clear orange with a foamy light tan head. Good retention.

S - Bready, oranges, light carmel, and pine.

T - A roller coaster or carmel, bread, citrus, oranges and hoppy pine.

D - Good carbonation, whew! I was worried since it was a growler, but the counter-pressure fill helped here. No bitterness at all.

O - Very, very well balanced. Bread, orange, and pine. All present, but not one dominates. I usually prefer my IPAs as hop forward, but this has to be the best balanced IPA I have ever had.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.09/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep Amber color. Thick off white head that lingers nicely. Some lacing on the glass. Earthier hop aroma and malt present on the nose. Very well balanced hop-malt flavor profile. Starts with the sweet malt flavor and leaves you with nice bitterness on the aftertaste. Reminds me of a rye-style IPA with that crisp dryness. Medium feel with good carbonation. Overall a nicely done beer

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Photo of jrallen34
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a growler into a chalice.

It pours a very dark orange with a big white. There is great lacing and it is surprisngly clear for its darkness of color.

The aroma is nice and subtle. Orange zest hits on the front end but the hops are present.

The tatse is complex with a nice sweet start, hops are present always and really show them self on the end. Its a nice bitter finish but not to bitter so it allows for big swigs and heavy drinking.

The feel is great, lasts several seconds, the hops stay even after you swallow.

Is it drinkable? Hell yeah, crushed a growler with my girlfriend in about an hour.

This is great IPA, slightly higher in my book than PtE.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My brother brought 3 growlers of this with him from Minneapolis for the 4th of July weekend. I owe him big-time for the chance to try this beer.

The growlers hold the carbonation pretty well, giving a psst sound when the cap is opened. I poured it into tumblers, and it looked pretty good, clear orange color with oily looking white foam. The smell was pine needly hoppy, really good but a little difficult to distinguish from loads of other IPA's.

Like-wise with the taste, the main flavor is hops (which is good but still similar to many other beers). There was a slightly fruity after-taste too which was nice for an IPA.

Overall this is a really good IPA, but I can't see why it's rated #10 on BA. I'd place DFH 90 Minute or Stone Ruination above Masala because they both have more complexity and balance with the malt.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,354 ratings.
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