Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,369 Ratings
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States
townhallbrewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,369
Reviews:
679
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
9.2%
 
 
Wants:
877
Gots:
90
For Trade:
4
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,369 |  Reviews: 679
Photo of BeerTruth
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks goes out to younger35, a great trader and a great friend. Thanks man!

64 oz. growler poured into a nonic shared amongst friends before the Halloween festivities begin.

Pours a bronzed copper hue with a huge three finger light tan head that takes forever to die down to a frothy layer of goodness. Gobs of lacing clings to the sides of the glass, a beautiful looking brew. Smell is dominated by bitter and sweet citrus hops. Mango, pink grapefruit, and mandarine oranges with a touch of evergreen. Underneath all that hop goodness are some crystal and pale malts with a slight booziness as well in the aroma. Taste bgins pretty piney with a dirty earth hop as well. Bitter grapefruit with some lime and orange zest midway with a slightly malty backbone. I like how it's bitter, but not overly dry in the aftertaste with a sweet mango flavor that lingers. Creamy medium body with a smooth feel and a lively carbonation. A very solid, drinkable IPA with complex flavors and a soft mouthfeel. I like this beer a lot, a touch more in the malt department and it could be near perfect. Thanks again Dan, I owe you big time!!

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

Tried on tap at the brewery!

Although the bartender guy was a jerk, it didnt steer me away from the bar. I grabbed a pint and sat down with some friends to gaze at the bar.

This beer pours was a very nice 1 finger head. The smell is what really gets me going. The smell is so beautiful and flora! It has so much hop and freshness its almost like Jesus pooped a flower and that flower was hops. Its great!

The taste is like the smell. Its very bitter but in a good way. It's VERY hoppy, again, in a good way! Its great!

I would say the drinkability is the only think. Its very balanced however its very...full if you will.

Overall, its great! Im not a hop head however I would drink this all the time!

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beers which I have given a Perfect Five (in descending order of tastiness)

Gumballhead
The Abyss
Dark Lord
Shakespeare Stout

I've never bought in to the logic that fives should almost never be given out, that no beer is completely perfect and so none should be given a perfect score. Yes, I suppose there is no objectively "perfect" beer, in the philosophical sense, but this is not a philosophy midterm. This is a beer rating website. And there are plenty of beers that are perfect enough, in my opinion, to warrant a perfect score.

But then there's the question of style and that nagging guilt you feel whenever you try to quantify a personal preference in some dramatic way. Weihenstepahner's Hefe is easily the best I've ever tried--why doesn't it get a five? While delicious, Gumballhead is hardly XTreme enough to fit into too many beer geek's definition of a perfect beer (that is, as one that burns your tongue)--so in spite of its poetic pallet, perfect balance, and prodigious potability, does it still deserve a five? What separates Devil Dancer from Rogue's I2PA, really?

It boils down to context, I suppose. Whoever is drinking it, whatever is happening to that person while he's drinking it, whatever beers he's tried before and whatever tastes they've caused him to develop. There's nothing scientific about it, even if we assign numbers to it. Some people's tastes should rightfully carry more weight than others, of course, and there are plenty of cases in which tastes are so ignorant or offensive that it's perfectly fine to think of them as incorrect or wrong. But there is and always will be a fundamental subjectivity to taste, same as there will always be a subjectivity about beauty or love or happiness. That doesn't mean these things don't exist. That doesn't mean they don't hold any weight.

Masala Mama on cask gets a perfect score because it is the far and away the best American IPA have I ever had. IPAs are a style that I normally enojoy, but do no normally enjoy to give excessively high scores to. This one goes beyond all that, though. I've written about its mindblowing balance before, read those old reviews if you're interested in that kind of stuff. On cask, it's better. It's got the best body of any beer I've ever had, ever. Everything clicks. I would move to Minneapolis just to be closer to this beer.

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Photo of younger35
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had a pint of this at Town Hall the day before the Darkness release. This will be my first brew from Town Hall and I'm really excited to try it. Drank from a Town Hall pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a surprisingly dark orange yellowish with a nice creamy one finger bright white head that never really recedes. A huge collar is maintained the entire beer as it leaves ring after ring of beautiful lacing.
Smell- Not as upfront and pungent as I was expecting though still nice none-the-less. Raw grapefruit from the start with hints of orange peel and tangerine. A bit candied with some caramel showing as the brew warms but all-in-all everything remains fairly light. Surprisingly the alcohol is noticeable considering this brew only sits at 5.9%.
Taste- Starts with a fairly resiny hop kick consisting of some sappy pine and fresh grapefruit pith. Orange zest and lemon oil add the slight citrus kick that I get but the hops remain mostly on the very earth side. The hops are not alone though. A hue of sweetness is left in the form of soft subtle caramel malt that keeps the lupulin in check. The alcohol that I could initially smell is no where to be found in the taste.
Mouthfeel- Medium body that flirts with being thin and plenty of crisp carbonation to keep the beer vibrant refreshing.
Drinkability- Nothing really all that special here but it's a super drinkable, super tasty IPA. I think the balance between hop and malt is what keeps this so highly regarded. It appeals to both sides on a very fundamental level. Thank the lord I brought home a growler with me to enjoy later tonight. And to think I almost didn't...

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

It has arrived! Been to Minneapolis many times, but never made it to this spot.

Cloudy amber with a bit of head. Decent lacing.

Aroma is awesome. Sharp and grassy. Flavor is aggressive. Not the most balanced IPA. Crazy sticky hop finish. A true palate destroyer. Chinook? I can see why the people here have designated this as number one, you insane hop freaks. I dig but would like something with a little more malt as an everyday IPA. Hops stay on my tongue long after the beer is done.

Great mouthfeel. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

wow. this is a brewpub. i'm not an IPA man but two in the same week really does it for me. this is a very solid beer. not too amber but almost there. great retention. had a strange zing to it. cardamon in odor. very subtle. lost in the hop. great hop though. fruity grapefruit and dry pine. can't wait to go back to minneapolis for that pub.

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

After many trips to Town Hall I finally decide I will review this gem. I have gone to Town hall to pick up growlers for fellow BA's, and I always have a pint of this.
Pours a dark orangish amber with a creamy, resilient head that hangs around and sinks slightly in the middle as you drink, but it never fades.
Smells of the hop monster that at is...Orange, pine, spice...the bulletproof head oozes essence and smells that overwhelm the olfactories...oh man.
Taste is superb. Hops hops and more hops. Not real well balanced, in my opinion, but hey, you drink an IPA and you should expect an assault of bitterness. Still incredibly smooth.
This stuff is wicked drinkable. I can see myself sometime in the near future knocking back a BUNCH of these.
Since joining BeerAdvocate, I have looked at the top 100 list with a sense of pride that this beer that is local to me rates so high. Us Minnesotans are understandably biased, but try this stuff and you will agree that it is top 10 worthy.

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Photo of TonyBaloney
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

YUMMM! Got a growler of this from a friend. I looked pretty good in my English Pint glass, little darker than most IPAs I thought. The smell was a real wallop of hops, beautiful, floral-like bouquet. The taste was explosive, hops, then malts, then more hops and malts, followed by hop notes that lasted until my next chug several minutes later. Amazing. The carbonation level was just right, and the overall drinkability was smooth and flavorful. The growler disappeared WAY too fast, and I didn't feel any worse for wear, so highly recommended if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served cool in a Boston Lager glass from a growler courtesy of Scoobydank.

Orange in appearance with a massive, fluffy off white head that leaves loads of lacing all the way down the glass.

Aroma is big with hop complexity: fruity, minty and piney with a hint of malt behind it.

Flavor is really balanced, rich for the ABV almost like an amber ale.

Mouthfeel is light and bitter, with a lingering resiny hop aftertaste.

This is an exceptionally drinkable IPA. Very impressed and glad I had a whole growler to enjoy and share.

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Photo of Larrytown
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It purs a deep amber or copper with a gorgeous head that refuses to fade away. Nice looking drink. There's a bit of malt in the nose, but no denying that the hops are the main course here.

The taste is absolutely pure IPA. It's hoppy, but still has some balance. It's not just showing off how intense it can get, but is instead focused on maintaining that golden ratio between bitter and sweet.

This goes down pretty smooth; if you're interested in the style, you need to try this one.

Note: The cask ale is definitely superior to the tap (cask is an A+ and the tap's an A, I'd say) because the cask is a bit more subdued and balanced, but you can't go wrong either way.

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Photo of sholland119
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this well packed growler in an awesome trade with maximum12. Thanks, Corey.

A-Pours a clear amber orange color with a thin tan head and nice lacing. Excellent.

S-very big aroma of grapefruit hops but with a very solid malt behind it.

T-An exceptionally balanced IPA. A very strong balance of flavorful citrus hops and a strong caramel malt sweetness. Gets better with every sip.

M-Very light with a mellow hop bitterness that lingers.

D-The growler was gone in record time. Wish I had another one.

Lives up to the hype and expectation. Great flavor and balance. Can't wait to trade for another one.

HV

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Photo of beerkittycat
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is hazy orange with a frothy and tight off-white head that lingers for the duration. Aroma is bursting with pine and citrus, maybe a little bit of mint and woods. Malt is definately taking a back seat in the aroma for the hops to shine through. Taste has bursting flavors of hop and more hops with a strong bitterness right up front. Malt flavors of apricot and marmalade are again taking a back seat to all the hops. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation help this beer but the hop bitterness is fairly harsh bordering on acidic. Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderfully flavorful beer if your a hop addict. I only prefer a bit more malt balance and a little less harshness in the hop flavor and bitterness.

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Photo of maximum12
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Split a growler of mama with the wife on our summer vacation the last week of June after the kids went to bed.

Pours a true-blue IPA color, nice head, with a bloom of citrusy hops rising from the open glass. Even my belches smelled good. Nice.

The hops aren't overwhelming on the tongue, but good & sharp. There's a very clean taste to this that I don't always find in an IPA - because of the brewing process, or additional ingredients, or fancy brewer footwork. This is just IPA. Coming through untouched.

The first glass...well, it disappeared in record time. We had no problem finishing off the growler in one sitting. I noted that this is a beer that improves with volume. If you have a ride home, or a growler in the safety of your living room, don't just have one. Have three. Gets better with every glass.

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Photo of tjfontaine
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tasted this beer several weeks ago on the advice of this forum. I usually go mostly for Amber ales with IPAs as a backup. This IPA is amber in color and tastes much like a hopper Amber ale ... very smooth, just a bit of bite, has a great pour.

I will have this beer again - in fact I did today when I was in the neighborhood.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damned good.
Pours a deep orange amber with a nice two fingers of white foam that lasts and laces the entire drink.

Aroma is all about the hops...lots of citrus and grapefruit peel hops in the nose. Intensely fresh.

Taste is an incredible balance of sweet amber malt and mixed citrus hops with some pine oil thrown in just to keep it interesting.
First taste seems too hoppy but after the tongue numbs a bit you recognize the incredible balance.

Finish is bitter hops with no residual cloying from the malts that were definitely there in the beginning.

Dry and satisfying.
Yummy.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

P: Presented in a 64 fl. oz. growler with Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery (Est. 1997) logo design. Again, thanks to "Masala Mama" for coming through in the growler-running-clutch. Poured aggressively into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazed, dark copper with a one-finger, bone-white head that reveals intricately complex lacing throughout the session.

S: The nose is all citrus hops with accents of grapefruit, pineapple, peach, pine resin, and brown sugar. The combined aromas waft over an underlying sweetness of caramel malt.

T: Delicous hop flavors meld perfectly with a sweet, caramel malt foundation. Remarkably well-balanced, with huge notes of grapefruit rind, pine resin, and buttered biscuits competing for center stage. Exits with bitter blasts that numb the tongue into submisison. Oh, yeah! Oh, mama!

M: Medium-bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that finishes dry.

D: Lives up to the hype of its #1 BA rating. Exceptionally drinkable with sublime balance, Masala Mama is the American benchmark for India Pale Ales.

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

Very solid IPA

App: This was the best part, great copper hue with a perfect off-white head that sat around for days. It looked great in the glass, the only thing keeping it from perfect was that the head lacked a thickness that I enjoy.

Smell: Citrus and floral hops dominate, as is no suprise, and take over leaving no malt background. Very intense hop aroma, that is reminiscent of a dipa.

Taste: Much like the smell, but with a tiny bit of the malt coming through. Again, the intensity of the hops makes me think of dipa's. Definitely a hod head's beer.

Mouthfeel: Bitter in a quenching and palate clearing way. Very nicely done with a well rounded bitterness that isn't too intense and doesn't build to immense proportions.

Drinkability: I would gladly get this again and again, and would gladly take home growlers again and again. I'm impressed and want another right now.

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Photo of SQNfan
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured deep copper in color with some amber running through the middle and a creamy off-white head. The aromas were of citrus, pine and coffee. In the mouth it was medium-bodied with great balance of hops and malt in the midpalate and then fading to a lightly dry finish with crisp bitterness. The coffee aroma and flavors makes me wonder if there was a porter/stout in the growler previously.

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Photo of thickerfreakness
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to esch for sending me a growler of this one.

A bright orange color with a slight off white head that lasts for some time and leaves a decent amount of lacing behind.

Smells really balanced between piney and citrus hops and a really rich smelling caramel flavor.

Taste is similar with citrus and caramel dominating up front and fading into a great piney bitterness. Excellent balanced IPA.

Such a creamy, smooth mouthfeel on this one with just enough carbonation. This one is just so incredibly smooth.

At such a reasonable 5.90ABV this one is such a great sessionable IPA. A real winner here.

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Photo of gford217
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to MeLikeBeer shared at the BA get-together at the Brick Store. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a deep clear cooper with a fluffy off-white head that lingers for a long time leaving very good lacing.

S: Smell is very well balance with big pine and grapefruit scents up front balanced by a sizable bready malt aroma in the background with a hint of caramel.

T: Taste is amazingly smooth and balanced with the hops dominating but not overly bitter. The citrus hits up front with grapefruit and gives way to the sweet malts. The finish is a smooth pine hoppiness, very crisp and clean.

M: As stated above, the mouthfeel is super smooth for an IPA and medium bodied with little bitterness on the palate.

D: This is a very balanced and drinkable IPA and big thanks again to Brent for sharing this great brew with me.

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

Poured a clear golden amber color. Fantastic hop smell, nice malty sweetness in the background. Taste is of bitter hops, plenty of pine goodness and grapefruit, with an excellent malt backbone that keeps this one incredibly well-balanced. Fantastic IPA. So good in fact, I stopped back by Town Hall the very next night, after dropping off my girlfriend at the airport, to get a growler, which will be reviewed shortly. Fantastic brew pub and servings.

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Photo of kkipple
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks for Todd1 and his mad shipping skillz. He got me a growler of this (among other things) and I swear the thing was still cool!

A. Dumped into my resurrected Tripel Karmeliet chalice, the brew foams up a fat, off-white head that fades over the top of a clear, rich amber brew. The head never completely dies, and leaves some smidgens of lace behind.

S. Unimpressive at first whiff, but that is probably because this is amazingly well blended. Nothing stands out, nothing overpowers anything else. This is a textbook example of a nose in an American IPA style - pine sap, sweet grapefruit bitterness, grass, sugar, a bit o' honey, oranges, caramel. Blended and bended into each other, this is harmonious and delicious. Avoids smelling like the inside of a hop sack, like so many beers of this style tend to do.

T. Follow your nose and you'll get more of the same. Masala Mama is a sweet, balanced IPA and full of the classic flavors you expect. Roasted and sweet grain sugars blend with sappy, bitter floral hop notes to produce a clean, bittersweet and quenching brew. Finishes wet and asks you to have another. I oblige. It may be a tad on the sweet side for repeated drinking, but I had no trouble with two glasses of this, and neither did my pair of friends.

M. Wet, fine carbonation adds drinkability. Middling body. Pleasing bittersweet aftertaste that avoids being unpleasantly bitter.

Someday I'll brew an IPA this fine, and I will retire. This beer isn't going to win any awards for uniqueness, but as a stellar example of a style you can't go wrong. Highly recommended if you can get it.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Growler

Special thanks to a co-worker & friend of mine that sent me 2 growlers from Minneapolis. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to enjoy this excellent beer.

I poured my first serving into a traditional pint glass and was greeted with thin head/slightly off white in color. This IPA is medium copper in color and somewhat cloudy. No visible carbonation.

Aroma of fresh hops.
Pine/grapefruit.... all the usual characteristics of a nice IPA.

There was a very good amount of lacing left behind as the beer was consumed.

As I drank this beer I realized that it looked/tasted and felt (mouth feel) like a cask conditioned beer.

Very little carbonation and almost creamy mouth feel.

I think there is wonderful balance here.
Not too sweet, focused on the fresh hops.
Nice hop finish.

I've seen some other reviews with comments that they believe its more like a DPA. I respectfully disagree and think the mouth feel, consistency and taste are really in the American IPA category.

I believe this beer is very drinkable. It caused me to ask myself: Can an IPA be a session beer? If so, then I'm in and this would be the choice.

Excellent Beer!

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Photo of dill
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice golden with a frothy head and the smell of citrus stands out right away. It was so much like orange juice I just kept smelling it to take it in. The taste was lots of citrusy hops but it wasn't as balanced as I would have liked it to have been. Nevertheless it was a joy to drink.

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

Y'all sure this isn't a Double IPA? I mean, really?

Thanks to Todd1 for the BIF trade.

Pours a nice coppery amber with a big frothy white head and a surpringly amount of lacing. Mouthfeel is nice and chewy.

Smells like pineapple, grapefruit, grass (the kind that grows on your lawn), and caramel malt. The taste introduces pine to the equation, but there's a ton of citrus backing, that pineapple spice, and a fantastic malt component that you don't see in IPAs with this sort of hop content very often.

Just delicious.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,369 ratings.
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