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Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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1,375 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,375 |  Reviews: 680
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and great lacing. Aroma of citrus hops with a nice mix of caramel malt and a nice bitter aftertaste. Taste is also a very well balance mix between some some c-hops citrus notes with some floral undertones and deep caramel malt. Full body with great carbonation. Very well done but I still thinks its lacks the grapefruit punch that I really look for in this style.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, summer 2008:

Pours a nice orange-brown with a 1/4 inch head of fine bubbles. Laces like a broken spiderweb. Smells of big hops but also a nice sweet smelling caramel malt. Flavor is nicely hoppy, a bit grassy and lemony. Flavor balance is well done...its not overwhelmingly hoppy, but just a nice mix. Maybe a little overly bitter on the finish though. Medium bodied, a little over-carbonated. Drinks fine...though i have to admit that im left wondering what all the hype is about.

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Photo of Greggy
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a thick foam cap, 1/2 inch in height. Nice cascade effect in the body from the cask. The body is dark amber in color and semi hazed. As the body recedes, thick lacing coats the glass.

S- Nice pineapple, pine, resin, grapefruit and peach aromas. Delicous!

T- Nice creamy and smooth pineapple start off with other notes of pine, delicately balanced out by a great maltiness. The finish is dry but oh so smooth.

M- Extremely smooth and creamy.

D- This is an amazingly smooth and drinkable IPA @ 5.9% to boot. Definitely a must have at TH.

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Photo of Kadonny
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewing my second growler gotten via trade.

Poured from a growler into my Sierra Nevada tulip glass.

A: A deep amber orange color with a perfect one finger fluffy slightly off white head. Not a lot of glass lacing, but what was there was very thin.

S: Citrus and pineyl earthy hops with a deep sweet caramel malt smell.

T: Lots of stuff going on here. I got citrus flavors up front with grapefruit and some hints of orange. The hops flavors turn a bit darker with some pine earthly flavors that mix with the caramel and toffee malt flavors through the middle of the beer. Just as you think the malt will finish you out, the hops jump back in to make it a clean but bitter finish. I enjoyed this beer much better the second time around. Still, it is fairly well balanced and a solid, solid beer. This is very much a central style beer much in line with Two Hearted and Centennial.

M: Medium, coating, prickly, resiny with very little alcohol kick.

D: High, I almost finished off a growler one afternoon. Very drinkable.

Overall I enjoyed this beer much more the second time around. Is my palate changing in which I appreciate the more balanced IPAs? Maybe. Maybe I just understand that this beer is still very hoppy and very good based on a second taste. Either way, a top notch IPA that is deserving of it's good reviews. Thanks for the 2 Baers for trading with me and allowing me the chance to have it twice.

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Photo of abfraser
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are quite a bit of reviews here saying essentially the same thing which I agree with so there's not much need for a deep review.

A: Pours a nice dark orange. Carbonation was slightly flat, but that was probably a function of drinking the growler on its last legs.

S: Wonderful floral, citrusy, piney hops. This was one had quite a strong aroma.

T/M: All my IPA reviews are henceforth going to include where it ranks on the bitterness scale. This one is nicely balanced leaving only a moderate lingering bitterness. Very good. There's a lot of citrusy and pine-like hops and some herbalness.

D: A very good IPA. Could actually drink several of these and not be blown away with bitterness. I don't think it's a BA Top 10 beer, but certainly very good.

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Photo of waltonc
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this in a an awesome trade thanks to MasterSki.

A: The previous review is dead on with the appearance, so I won't belabor the point. Except I'll note that the head is almost a little out of control, leaving swaths of sticky foam lining my glass. A tad off-putting, as it reminds me of mysterious foam you see in bodies of water that require you to think twice before swimming. But maybe that's just a result of being stirred up by shipment across the country. So I'll give it a pass.

S: As expected, smells like a hoppy IPA. My nose isn't breaking it out any more deeply than that.

T: Interesting flavor. Certainly, the piney hops are the first thing that jump out. But there is also a candied maltiness that balances this. Almost a bit fruit-like. Then - more bitter hops.

M: Bittering, medium bodied, medium carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for an IPA, which I normally can't drink too much of. Overall, a very good beer, and a great example of an IPA. I like it more than most I can get here in California.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just arrived today from deliriumfest! Thanks for the opportunity to try this awesome IPA!

A- Body is a slightly translucent, dark rusty orange/amber color. Pours with a giant frothy, foamy off-white head. The growler was almost a gusher but stopped as soon as it reached the top and didn't overflow at all. Head eventually subsides to 1/2 finger and has perfect retention from there with lots of lacing left in the glass. When held up to the light one can see that it is nearly transparent with a very minimal uniform fogginess to the body.

S- Nose is deceptively sweet with a big presence of caramel malt being the highlight. Sweet citrus (grapefruit) hops arise next and there is just a touch of pine and earthiness also detectable. This doesn't have the scent of a big crazy West Coast hop bomb, but rather of a balanced IPA or red ale where the hops are definitely not the main character.

T-The flavor is huge all the way through. It begins with a balance of pine and citrus hop flavors upfront with a very substantial sweet caramel malt backbone. The finish starts out pretty sweet with the caramel malt coming through...just then a blast of pine flavor and bitterness comes through at the very end. What lingers is a medium residual piny bitterness along with a refreshing piny aftertaste.

M-Medium to high tingly carbonation with a very nice smooth oily body. Mouthfeel is light in weight.

D- This IPA is magnificent, brilliant! Minneapolis might just be the home of my favorite IPA. I love how the smell is so deceptively sweet then the flavor is like "just kidding-I'm pretty much a hop bomb." Very pleased with this and happy that i have a whole growler of it to enjoy! (No one else around likes hoppy beers). This has the flavor of a DIPA packed into a regular IPA with a lower ABV. Wonderful indeed. Would have been the perfect beer if it just had a bit more citrus. It did land a spot in my all time top 10 favorite beers though!

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Photo of lhaqq
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Translucent copper-orange body with a beautiful 1cm ripply white head. Swirling the glass throughout drinking whips up a good sized head that retains for a while.
S: Huge floral hop smell up front. I feel like I'm in a field of flowers. After getting acquainted to the hop smell, a light malt aroma comes out.
T: Pretty hoppy like the smell but still has a bit of a malty sweetness and not much bitter aftertaste.
M: Refreshing and clean.
D: A great session beer. Probably my favorite IPA.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler, courtesy of a ratebeer trade. Split several ways, but with a full portion poured into a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich, robust, hazy brown amber with plentiful and very active carbonation. The one-plus-finger tan head that rose out of an aggressive pour has average to slightly above-average retention and leaves tons of streaky, runny lacing, though there is a firm layer of solid, sticky foam around the lip of the liquid itself.

Aroma: Superbly balanced, but with a wonderful array of hop notes. Sweet, sticky grapefruit, pine sap, and floral notes greeted me as soon as I cracked the growler and continued on throughout the entirety of the experience. Pungent and strong, they do their best to keep a heavily roasted, slightly buttery caramel/toffee malt backbone in check.

Taste: Moderate bitterness permeates, and it weaves its way in and out of those same heavy citrus notes and pine overtones. The flavor has tons more leafy herbalness - tobacco, mint, and basil are how I interpret it, but I also get flourishes of other herbs and a general, pleasant "forest" note. Quite the hop bouquet.

Mouthfeel: There's a strong estery, "minty" afterfeel, sort of the way that mint opens up your throat and tingles it all up. The body itself is medium, fairly pregnant with residual sugars, though that's cut through ever so slightly by the crisp, fine effervescence. This lends itself to a very creamy mouthfeel, though it is slightly uneven. Let it warm - it smooths out considerably.

Drinkability: A phenomenal IPA. Even though I don't necessarily think it's deserving of a top 10 rating, it's a really, really good beer, and perhaps it would be even fresher straight from the brewery (though this growler was sealed pretty damn tightly, screw-capped, shrink-wrapped, and taped - nice job). It's definitely a top 5 IPA for me, perhaps top 3. The alcohol is undetectable and reasonable for the style, the aroma amazing, the taste solid, the feel wonderful ... just a great all around beer.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh growler arrival, kindly shared by CrellMoset. Thanks, Chris! Came off a nice, naturally refrigerated FedEx truck so it is needing to mellow out and warm a touch

A: Sunny, glowing amber. A nice, very pale tan head that forms almost a perfect two fingers and leaves a sheeting wall of lace. Retention is fabulous. One of the more appealing brews I've come across.

S: Oily pine needle, almost sappy as well. Quite a big, sweet caramel or toffee maltiness that is not muted out by the hops. As for the hops, outside of the pine scent first noted, there's a spiciness and soft peppery notes.

T: A pine / spruce medley with a herbal quality to it. Some slightly minty notes - like the late finish of one, 20 minutes after the fact. A nice, subtle malty backbone there for balance.

M + D: Medium body, carbonation had mellowed a little, presumably due to the growler and shipping time. It wasn't hurt by it in the least, and was almost a little more cask-like in some regards. A very well balanced beer, solid and pleasant. I'm glad to have tried it and may have to look into other brews (or a fresh glass of this on tap!) if I ever do an overnight stop while traveling through Minneapolis.

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Photo of craytonic
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler in the fridge lasted three days:

Appearance: Pours a clear orange amber with an enormous sea-foam head that never fully subsides. Nice lacing all the way down.

Smell: Citrus hops, hops, and more hops, spruce, and resin.

Taste: Hops, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, spruce, pine, resin.

Mouthfeel: Nice malt backbone for body.

Drinkability: Disappears.

Thanks to WankerWeasel!

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Photo of koopa
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to beerbeagle for sending a growler my way.

Appearance: slightly hazy and bordering btw orange and amber, this IPA pours with a mousse like 3 finger foam head. Quite rocky, with good retention and CAKES of lacing! It would have got a 5.0 for appearance if the body wasn't so dark.

Smell: Not overpowering, but a beautiful bouquet of citrus hops and floral hops. Lots of pine sap, some grapefruit, and other citrus fruit notes.

Taste: Much like the nose with citrus fruit dominating the front and a slightly bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel: fairly creamy and a medium body at most with a perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy sipper!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to a colleague who visits family in the Twin Cities I have a regular hookup for growlers. Anyone in the Chicago area should hit me up for a trade...

A - Off-white creamy two fingered head that takes a while to dissipate, leaving behind a lace that coats the side of the glass. The beer is a golden-amber color, mostly opaque, with slow moving bubbles. This is what an IPA should look like.

S - Floral hops, sweet citrus, pine, and some caramel malt in the background. Smell is a little understated, but that may have to do with the fact that the growler traveled 500 miles. I remember it being more pungent on-tap. Complex and deep.

T - Starts very bitter but mellows into an exquisite blend of orange, lemon, pine, malt, and honey. Leaves a bitter aftertaste in the back of the mouth.

M - A little lighter than I'm used to, but very smooth with the right balance of carbonation. Leaves a sticky resinous quality. If it were a touch more viscous it'd be perfect.

D - This is the quintessential session beer. If you're looking for something refreshing, light, and inexpensive (if you live near Town Hall, that is) this is the perfect beer. I'd love to have this after a hot summer day.

Wow - $13 for a growler (less if you refill!). I think pints were like $3 or something, and since this is one of their standard brews you can get it every day of the year. Between this and Furious the Twin Cities really set a high bar for the IPA.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the growler...

Aroma - Floral and piney hops, caramel...bready.

Taste - Nice citrus hop and sweetness balanced with bitterness. Malty. Impressive IPA.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Great feel.

Drinkability - This is easy drinking. I wish we could get a keg.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice orange color with one finger of creamy white head.

Scent of hops, citrus, sweet malts, and some sugars. Can't get much better than this.

Taste of caramel malts starting with some sweetness and a nice hop character developing. Finishes with biscuity malts and a hint of bubble gum. One of the best IPAs I have had for certain.

Mouthfeel is light, but not watery, just perfect for an IPA.

This beer too damn drinkable.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, a big thanks to my friend, mrandypandy, for bringing me this one back. Very kind of you, man...I owe you big time.

A. Bright clear copper in color. Head is 1/2" of sticky, clingy lacy foam. This is a beautiful beer indeed.

S. Some floral hop notes lead off with some pine and citrus thrown in. The malt gives a lively sweet caramel scent to balance with all the hop madness that is going on.

T. Upon first sip, I can easily tell this is a very complex beer. Starting sweet with caramel malt, some biscuit, and some honey--maybe some Munich. The hops then jump right out and hit you with bursts of rich pine and some earthy bitterness. The finish starts sweet as well, but the aftertaste is very dry making you want another sip.

M. Medium to thick in the mouth with just the right touch of carbonation.

D. I have a growler all to myself. I hope I don't regret this score for the extreme drinkability this beer has, as I feel this could go down way too easily. Complex and simply has a uniqueness to it which others are lacking.

I have heard and read all the hype, and for ONCE a beer finally lives up to it.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into my Church Brew Works pint glass.

A - pours a deep copper color with plenty of whispy tan foam that left plenty of lacing throughout the glass

S - grapefuit and lemon hoppy goodness

T - nice bitter hops with citrus flavor and a bit of pineyness thrown in

M/D - A very drinkable IPA, just enough bitterness and hoppy goodness to satisfy hopheads, but not overboard to where anyone can't enjoy it. I could definitely drink many of these and plan to as I work my way through the growler.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to wankerweasel for hooking up this growler of the current #1 IPA on BA.

A- a dark amber, almost brownish orange. Really creamy, rocky head builds up easily, lacing is nice.

S- you can just tell this beer is on the bitter side from the smell. It has that sort of pungency to it. There is a semblance of some citrus character there but its hard to pick out.

T- the first thing that jumps out is the high alpha bitterness in this beer. There is a juiciness to this that's really good, it finishes with just a bitterness that hard to describe... slightly harsh, but that's not so bad in an IPA. The taste profile of this beer reminds me a bit of the BJ's Piranha Pale Ale I get at the West Covina location.

M- The beer is very dry and accented by its bitterness.

D/Overall - This beer is kinda like drinking hop oils on a very light body. I love the taste of hops but overall I think the enjoyability here is limited here because it's hard to get past that bitterness. Bitterness is great most of the time, I love bitterness, but sometimes there is an aspect to it that's kinda strange, and that's what I find here. In the end though I would drink this beer any time given the opportunity.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Jeff (Faro) for sending this my way. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy this, but I may have converted my father to the world of microbrews with this one.

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

A- Dark, clear amber. Gave a nice orange glow when light hit the glass. Two finger white head formed and dissipated quickly upon consumption.

S- Great aroma. First thing to hit the nose is a nice piney smell. Underneath is a subtle smell of citrus and grapefruits.

T- One of the best IPA's I have tasted so far. Bitter piney hops attack the palate and is finished off with a wonderful citrus sweetness.

M- Perfect. Well carbonated and medium bodied. Many IPA's tend to feel watered down me, no such thing going on here.

D- Highly drinkable...a nearly empty growler after two days is a perfect example of its drinkability.

Overall, very impressed. Usually I tend to like DIPA's because they are bolder and have more complexity. The fact that this is an IPA at 5.90% ABV and draws similarities to many of my favorite DIPA's is a true testament to how great of beer this really is. Highly recommended. Thanks Jeff!

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Photo of marcobrau
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap and cask at the brewery as part of a sampler. The hop aroma from this beer made it seem like a grapefruit had been stuffed into the tiny sampling glass. As I sampled the brew I was overwhelmed by the brash tangerine pith and grapefruit flavors awash in a sea of creme brulee-like maltiness. The mouthfeel was very creamy smooth and the body somewhat full. The finish was quite bitter, but not harsh. Not much else to say other than this was quite delicious.

(This review is from notes I took back in June 2008. Can't believe I didn't post these notes back then.)

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Photo of Monsone
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Alex (MasterSki) for hooking me up with this one.

Poured from a growler into Boston Lager glasses.

A - Copper color with a huge, fluffy cream colored head whith a ton of lacing. Beautiful beer
S - Aroma is big hops. Citrus (grapefruiit and lemon) with ample pine with some caramely malt in the background

T - Balanced, with nice grapefruit and pine resinous hop flavors. Nice malty (bready, caramel) backbone holding the whole thing togther.

M - Medium bodied with a clean finish and slight hop bitterness.

D - Extremely drinkable.

Really great beer. I wish it was easier to get my paws on, but I sure enjoyed the chance to knock down a growler with my buddy after the Hold Steady/Drive-By Truckers show.

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Photo of PatronWizard
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to awesome new trader deliriumfest for sending a growler of this westward. Because of you, several BAs were able to taste this otherwise pain-in-the-ass to get beer. After being shipped to me, I drove another 100 miles to meet with fellow BA's OlieIPA, Mauerhan, Aimstatus, and Pehlman whom I met for the first time. Kinda chatty.

So my notes are sparse but here goes anyway. For appearance I jotted "copper fire." Wow, must've looked pretty damn good. I know it can make a fierce head as well (Olie pours like an untrained chimp).

I took several big whiffs and smelt lots of fresh cut grass. Nice hoppy aroma.

Taste follows the sniff. Very grassy. Great tasting IPA for sure. All the fuss? Uh, I dunno. It was pretty damn smooth as well.

So I sought this out because it was ranked highly on the BA Top 100 (don't care if you think that's a stupid reason and I don't crap on your hobby). Obviously, it is a very nice, very tasty beer. If I was anywhere near this brewery I would stop in for some and be very pleased. Since I'm nowhere near this brewery, I probably won't ever have it again, unless someone sends it as an extra, which would be uber friggin cool!

Overall: tasty beer, good friends, good experience

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Photo of Mauerhan
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to patronwizard for the remainder of this growler. i drink this for anyone who has lost anything to these fucking fires.

pours golden amber with a perfect one and a half finger head a nice amount of lacing.

smell is nice and hoppy, lots of pine and citrus.

taste is nice sweet. hoppy bitterness that plays nicely in the sypmhony of this beer.

mouth is nice. medium bodied, nice amount of carbonation.

very drinkable.

a shitty review. i just am worried if im still going to have a house after tonight.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to PatronWizard...

A: Golden-amber colored which yielded a very-frothy head, partly because I poured it too aggressively. Great lacing a looks very appetizing.

S: The malt sweetness is a little more powerful than the piney/grassy aroma.

T: The hop bitterness is present within the first two seconds of the sip along with a nice piney quality and lingers well after swallowing this delicious beer.

M: Light body with mild carbonation. Great for this type of style.

D: 6% ABV makes it just about perfect for any drinking occasion.

Overall: This is a very good beer that I would definitely buy if the opportunity came up, but I'm not sure if it's a clear cut top 10 beer. In between a "try it" and "must try" beer.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First of all huge, Huge, HUGE thanks to MasterSki for the opportunity to taste one of beer's holy grails.

It pours copper/amber with a thick, 2-3 finger, off-white head. It looks about as delicious as any IPA I've ever come across.

The smell is also outstanding. Hops, malt, citrus... from the outset, this looks, and smells like, a killer delicacy.

I get a lot of orange, grapefruit, pine, grass and honey upon my tastebuds. There is a very fresh hop presence as well. Just fanfuckingtastic execution. Balanced, even, perfect. It's' very creamy and finishes dry. Make no mistake about it, this is a session beer. I'm over half way through the growler and I think I'm going to finish it off in one night... well, maybe I'll wait until after work tomorrow.

This beer is well worth the effort to seek out as it's everything an IPA should strive to be. I will absolutely have to try this on a hot summer day sometime. I'm so glad the midwest has this worthy contender to go against the best of California in this class. I would drink this every week if I lived in the land of 10,000 lakes.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 1,375 ratings
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