Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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1,383 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

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Ratings: 1,383 |  Reviews: 681
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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Photo of wingfwd
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have enjoyed this brew multiple times, at the brewery/restaurant and out of growlers at home and figured that I'd better submit a report in "thanks" if nothing else. I have not found another that compares. This is it. Fantastic. Can't say enough about it. This is consistently great ale. I am fortunate enough to live close enough to frequent the place or at least pick up a growler. Those of you who aren't, it's time to road trip!

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Photo of Deuane
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to packforever1976 for this highly prized nectar sent to me for Growling at the Moon 08-09.

Shared with Brewslut, ffejherb and SierraGs.

A-Deep copper body with a thick tan head. Head reduced to a thin cap that left a heavy coating of lace.

S-Rich and aromatic pine and citrus hops. It was actually more intoxicating to inhale out of the empty growler! This is the kind of hop aroma I live for.

T-Damn! this brew is simply a fantastic combo of pine and citrusy hops. No matter how it is served, on tap, cask, out of an old shoe....The Mama ALWAYS impresses me! This is one of my top 10 IPA's for sure.

M-Medium to medium-light....seems a bit more lively and crisp than the cask version. Fantastic, long lingering hop bitterness.

D-How can you go wrong with this stuff? I said I would drink it out of an old shoe for cryin' out loud! Even though I have had this beer multiple times at the source I am happy to receive a growler of this anytime!

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

Growler into shaker pint glass on 11/6/08. Big thanks to Deuane for sharing this with me!

A - Poured a medium rusty orange/copper body with moderate carbonation and one-finger dense, rocky beige head that receded to a quarter inch of retention and deposited a thick coat of lace around the glass.

S - The nose of this IPA is a wonderful blend of toasted grains, caramel malts and piney and citrus hop goodness. Hints of fresh baked bread and a touch of brown sugar also merge into the aroma.

T - Kicks off with a one-two punch of sweet malts and juicy citrus hops, then segues into more subtle hop notes of pine and resin. Finish is quite bitter with citrus rind and a pleasant grainy, bready character. Some toffee and caramel notes sweeten the pot a bit.

M - Medium body with creamy texture and pretty light carbonation. Quite crisp and dry in the finish. An assertive bitterness envelopes the palate.

D - Wow! This was worth the drive over to Deuane's for a pint (and a half) of this wonderful nectar. Awesome American IPA with perfect balance of hops and malt with a nice lingering bitterness. This was an excellent introduction to Town Hall!

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Photo of hopdog
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler acquired in trade with Robertsreality (thanks!). I had this one a few times from Growler, but notes and rating from this one.

Here I sit with a whole Growler of this great beer and I have to drink it all myself (don't trust letting it sit any longer). Poured a dark amber color with a large sized off white head. Aromas of pine, citrus and malts. Tastes of pines, grapefruits and caramel.

This is one nicely balanced IPA. Real easy going down and migthtly tasty.

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

Appearance: Dark amber, cascading bubbles from the cask form a thick head. Sheets of lacing cover the glass as I drink.

Smell: Strong sweet citrus aroma.

Taste: Very nice balance between sweetness and bitterness, with the bitterness just barely coming out ahead.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, relatively light feeling at the same time.

Drinkability: The lighter feel makes this one I'd like to have more and more of, but I have to drive home.

Finally got around to taking some notes and reviewing this excellent beer. It is great on tap but really turns into something exceptional on cask. If only they could can or bottle cask beer. :)

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Photo of ncvbc
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A honey amber pour with moderate carbonation and the nicest creamy head from a growler of any sort that I've seen. Great retention and layers of lacing down the glass. Smell is very nice. Not the most hoppy beer I've ever put my nose to but it's inviting to say the least. Juicy, citrus hops with a solid malt backbone. Some orange, apricot, grapefruit, and a touch of pine. Some caramel sweetness and a touch of biscuity essence. Also a very fresh green hop presence, somewhat raw and gritty. Taste is superb. It's a pretty well balanced IPA but I love it. Again, great citrusy hops with a countering malt sweetness. They do the tango and they enjoy it, dancing on my tongue to my delight. Funny thing is no matter how balanced this brew is, the hops shine wonderfully, I think this is mainly in thanks to the balancing effect. This is a thirst quenching beer. Not extremely bitter in the mouth. Somewhat creamy with a moderate bitterness and obviously fading carbonation through the growler. One of the more drinkable IPA's I've had, that's for sure. Not excessively bitter, very well balanced, and a tasty treat indeed. I had three pints from this growler and could have had more if I wasn't sharing. Very thankful to have finally tried this brew courtesy of was great!

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
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 +4.6%
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 +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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 -2.1%
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 -4.6%
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 +1.2%
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 +6%
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 +15%
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 +1.2%
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 +8.8%
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 +11.1%
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.


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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 1,383 ratings