Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

679 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

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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 1,368
Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of stupac2
4/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
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...

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Photo of Soonami
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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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 Phelps
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
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!

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
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!


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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of warnerry
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of drumrboy22
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of dubinsky
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of ncmussell
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of beenitty
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to rebis1bear for helping me get this long time want. Growler leaked a little bit but still good.

A: Pours amber/red, and looks amazing. Reddest IPA I've seen, I cant wait to dive in. Great white foamy head here that dissipates somewhat but easily reconstituted with a slight swirl

S: Hops, Spice, Grapefruit smells great.

T: Juicy, resiny sweet. Excellent. Taste like a much better version of Ithaca Cascazilla. Goes down like nectar.

M: Sweetness is just right and not very bitter IMO.

D: Very nice. Low ABV, I finished this growler off with no issues.

My expectations were pretty high for this beer and the hype was definitely validated, definitely best IPA I've had.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a orange/amber color with a white head retention that stays fairly long and has lots of lacing.

S- The smell is truly amazing. Lots of my favorite hop flavors: grapefruit and a variety of citrus/passion fruit. The hops were balanced by the malts and is one of my favorite smelling IPAs I've had.

T- Definitely follows the nose well, with grapefruit, citrus and pine notes mingling together nicely up front and clear tasting throughout the flavor profile especially up front. A malt backbone balances the hops well and it has a nice bittering finish. This beer is highly drinkable and I really enjoyed drinking two of them on my visit to the Town Hall.

M- Smooth with medium carbonation. Very smooth on the palate.

O- A great IPA and hits what I want in an IPA. Great aroma and taste. Outstanding balance. Complex but also easily to drink. Just a great beer. I've had few IPAs that I thought are better so this one deserves the praise it is receiving.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler shipped courtesy of Mid - Thanks for the wants hook up bro!

*Notes taken on 07/03/11

A: Pours a deep amber color for an IPA but super clear in appearance with plenty of heady head. Shipping had no effect on the carbonation whatsoever here. Bountiful peaks of frothy off-white foam adorned my pint and left quite the clingy lace.

S: Aroma fell a bit short for me and seemed rather muted. I did pick up some spicey and herbal hops there with a soft caramel maltiness overall.

T: Nice hops. Somewhat juicy. More dominant with an earthy spice and some pine but I think the caramel sweetness takes the driver's seat a bit. Almost butterscoth candy like. Especially on the aftertaste. It does have a rather light and dry clean crisp finish which is refreshing. Aroma had me worried but not bad at all actually.

M: Solid carbonation and hop bitterness gives this one a light medium body with a nice dry crisp finish and slightly slick tongue feel. Crunchy!

D: A good drinking IPA but not the hop bomb I was hoping for with such high reviews on here. More of a caramel and spice combo with very little aroma. I could see MM would definitely pair well with spicy foods.

Glad to have had the opportunity to try this brew and check it off my wants list. Perhaps I just had too high of expectations here but this one doesn't even come close to some of the West coast IPA offerings IMO. Or perhaps this palate is just spoiled!

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Photo of Reaper16
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap @ Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery into a pint glass

Pours a burnt amber color that looks to be completely translucent but is a dark enough beer that you can't really see through it all that clearly. 1.5 fingers of loose-ish eggshell white head sit on top.

You can tell by the smell that this beer is imbalanced towards the hoppy side of things (which is a good attribute), but the hops aren't all that intense. Grapefruit, pine, resin, and some distant pomegranate -- well, more specifically POM brand juice -- are there in the nose, but it isn't all that strong. A lightly caramely malt presence is down there somewhere.

Forget what I said about the hops not being intense. This is a full-flavored IPA. Lush bursts of pomegranate and passionfruit meet an abundance of grapefruit and oily resin. It's a very focused IPA, but that focus also doesn't lose interest throughout multiple pints. This is less bitter than it is full of citric acid like flavors. It's really wonderful stuff.

I love the mouthfeel on this beer. It's nearly perfectly carbonated, and the body is quite thin (which is always my preference with hoppy beers). Overall, this is a fantastic IPA. It's worth the hype and I am stoked that I finally got the chance to try it.

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Photo of kevinv
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to KeefD for hooking it up with a fresh growler of Masala Mama, a long time want of mine. Cap has a best-by date of 6/29. The growler was consumed 6/26.

A - Pours a deep amber color with red-ish hues. Fairly clear with visible carbonation bubbling from the bottom of my glass. Absolutely monstrous creamy off-white head with great retention. Nice sticky lacing throughout.

S - HOPS - and lots of them. The hops smell fresh and sweet with pungent aromas of grapefruit, pine, and orange. A slight caramel malt undertone, but the hops keep it pretty well subdued.

T - Extremely hoppy. Way more so than I expected. The taste falls right in line with the aromas. Big flavors of grapefruit and a nice piney-ness. The malt is pretty much overpowered with an intense bitterness, but it still provides a well balanced taste profile. The finish is oily.

M - High-medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Nice and smooth. Very creamy for an IPA.

O - Overall, this was an awesome brew. It packs an intense hoppiness, but remains sessionable. So glad to finally have given this one a try.

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Photo of argock
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fresh brown growler into a clear glass mug. Best by 6/24/11 on the cap. My brother Greg came up big with this one -- great job brother.

A: Orange-amber hue with prodigious, 2-3 finger- off-white, frothy, sticky head with good retention and a sheet of fine lacing at the top of the glass with a few random spots.

S: A top-tier IPA aroma combination of mangoes, pineapple, pine resin, grapefruit, and floral components. The maltiness is more caramel than you'd imagine.

T: No wonder this one gets raved about. The maltiness is solid and adds quite a bit of caramel sweetness. If this was still present but lessened, I think this could challenge the biggest boys in the style. The hoppiness is exceptional with big blasts of pine resin, grapefruit, pineapple, and floral flavors. The flavor is big and brings the goods, yet remains moderately dry and thus very drinkable. A superb brew that I think could be even better with a few mild tweaks to the malt bill.

M: The mouthfeel treads the line of lush and dry expertly. I think I drank 90% of this growler in about 2 hours and I think I could probably have had most of another. The coating and tackiness is right-on.

O: A beer like this makes me wish I lived back in Minneapolis again. This beer nails the aroma of a top-shelf IPA with an excellent flavor and feel. I will need to be very nice to my brother from now on.

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Photo of vande
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ~ Golden amber-copper in a color....with a slightly off white colored half finger thick head.... not bad for sittin in the fridge for about a week

S ~ hoppy, piney, fruity -- grapefruit up the nose

T ~ A blend of what the nose experiences first; grapefruit, pine, citrus hops with a nice malt backbone and a bitter finish.

M ~ Smooth and creamy. A lighter, extremely easy drinking beer... Wish it wasn't storming outside, or else me and my growler would be on the patio enjoying the evening...

O ~ A great beer. Someday, I'll make it up there myself to try it fresh off the tap. This one I was lucky enough to get from a friend who was visiting people up North and brought it back for me!

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Photo of birchstick
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours an amberish orange from the tap and puts on a fun show that most cask beers perform, akin to a Guiness on tap. When the storm settles, it left a really nice creamy head that never left.

S - this one is grapefruit and citrus all the way. A bit of cereal malt is in the mix too, but the hops are by far the most dominant feature.

T - juicy hops bombard the palate with grapefruit deliciousness upfront. The onslaught continues through the middle and all the way to the finish. Hidden beneath the hops are some cereal and a healthy amount of caramel malt (let's get real, though, this beer isn't meant to showcase the malts). Ends with a little bit of herbal pine bitterness and some malt sweetness.

M - full and creamy. Zero flaws in the way it isn't a 5.

D - awesome IPA. I can see why it is so highly regarded. There were other beers I wanted to try but couldn't stop ordering this one. Too bad it is only on tap, otherwise I wOuld drink the he'll out of his one.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,368 ratings.
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