Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

678 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: 678 | Ratings: 1,365
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Pint glass pour with a dim clear orange topped with craggy 1/2" khaki head cap that leaves plenty of startus layers of lace in the glass.

The best aspect of this brew is the huge aromatice hop blast and floral bouquet in the nose. So good that I want to jump in. Citrus orange and bright. I could smell this all day long and into night.

First swigs: Piny juicy floral with a touch of Earthy balance from the malt. (Reminds me a lot of 90 minute) Finishes with a tart lemon

This is a thick feel with a full bodied IPA that really puts it into a 2IPA category but I ain't here to debate.

Last swigs: Mature dark grainy hoppy balance. I seriously was shaking before I ordered this. It was the last beer of three for the night. I hoped to save the best for last) Excellent!

Beer is good. Happy hoppy beering.

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

This arrived with a big, fluffy, white head with a lot of bubbles coming to the top. I continued to note a beautifully floral hoppy nose. The mouthfeel was thicker and more effervescent on the palate. The hops were still up front and in your face, but tempered a little bit by the carbonation. The finish had that nice burst of malt that stood in utter juxtaposition to the combination sledgehammer/blind file of hops that slugs you, pulls your tongue out of your head with a pair of pliers, and begins running back and forth like a cheese grater. Waitress, another please.

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

This beer came a clear orange-ish brown. The head was a frothy light tan that left little lace.

Smelled of dry pines and fruity nectarine and pineapple with a dry sandy malt.

Tasted predominantly of sappy pine with a smooth and subtle caramel and chocolate base with dry fruits mixing into the pine.

The mouth feel was very light with a medium amount of tiny sharp carbonation.

A good beer, but I should have had this one before its cask conditioned sister.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew is bronze in color. The head is creamy, solid, and white, and stays about one-finger high until the glass in drained. The aroma is citrusy with pine and oranges peaking through. The taste is amazing. It is a perfect balance of citrus and pine flavors with a solid, but not too harsh, bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth. Overall, this is the best all around IPA I have had to date. All other IPAs seem to either be all citrus or all pine. Masala Mama is both.

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Photo of clvand0
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a nice head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is all hops - citrus and pine hops dominate. The flavor is much the same - lots of hops. The US hops in the flavor are countered with a decent caramel malt background, but it could use a hint more. The mouthfeel is medium and the drinkability is pretty good.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery located in the Twin Cities, this growler came to me via BA feloniousmonk. The seal had obviously held up, as the beer came out with a nicely swirling fine carbonation forming a lace bearing eggshell white head, which was thin, but rich. The beer itself was rather clear, with an attractive copper amber color, which was a shade darker than the run of the mill IPA. The aroma was very good at the time of the pour, and got better as the beer warmed up. The smell was that of flowery, spicy, and citric hops, that were strong without being over the top. The sweet honeysuckle smell of the underlying malt base was permitted to shine through faintly as well.

Taste was unabashedly bitter and peppery with no qualms about the hyper hopped nature of the drink. The malts were caramel, and only there to prop up the hop fireworks going on in my mouth. I love when a brewer self assuredly brews a beer to take its rightful place in the world, and this is a mighty example of this. The soft tropical mouthfeel, dry palette, and leafy bitter aftertaste, all go on paint a cohesive and harmonious picture. I no longer thought a single IPA could wow me, but this one does. Utterly spectacular.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a deep copper color wit ha finger of head that falls to a half finger over top with a modest lacing as it falls. Nose is sweet sweet citrusy, resinous hops with a very solid deep sweet malty backbone. Flavor is a fine balance between sweet citrusy hop flavor, sweet caramel malt and a very modest peppery bitter that hangs on the finish, but very pleasingly. Feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carbonation of fine bubbles. This beer would be in my fridge every day of the year if I could have it that way. I don't think there is a more balanced American IPA out there. Great beer.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brownish copper pour surprises by its darkness, but the generous beige head compensates any ill thoughts. Fully malty nose offers a broad range of varied dark malts aromas, caramel and fitting butterscotch being omnipresent. Strong biscuity feel. The hops, in that regard, are not the prime focus, but just a half of the couple, procuring mostly earthy, anise-like notes that evolve into leafiness in mouth. Quite sweet for an IPA, obviously rather round, more citric in mouth than the nose would let know and definitely less fruity. Expertly hidden alcohol and no astringency join forces to explain the desirable reputation. Reminds me of stuff like Nogne O Batch 100 for its sheer barleywineish malt orientation. Still very tasty and appealing though, a different take.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Despite my really high marks for this beer, I can't help to feel somewhat underwhelmed by this beer's reputation. Don't get me wrong. This is a great beer. A great IPA. But it's quality, albeit high, has been outstripped by its reputation. Bell's Two Hearted, for example, can easily go toe to toe with this one.

The name for this syndrome is "you can't get this, it is soooo good."

Good amber color. Really nice frothy head. Smell is really good. Piney and grassey hops. American hops I surmise. Taste is like the nose, but clean.

Super mad props to blitheringidiot for sharing this with us folks back in Philly.

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Photo of jamesdergen
3.51/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber orange with a decent foamy head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Somewhat sweet and citrusy with some hints of pine.

Taste: Great big hop flavor with the ever-present grapefruit flavor at the end that fades out into a somewhat nutty, hoppy bitter aftertaste. Also has hints of that dreaded cooked vegetable taste at the end, which I have never noticed on tap, only from the growler.

Mouthfeel: Surpringling light for a beer with such big, dense flavor. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter and leaves the mouth somewhat dry.

Drinkability: I could definitely enjoy multiple pints of this brew. Goes down easy and doesn't destroy your tastebuds. It's that weird taste at the end that brings the rating down a bit.

I had the rare opportunity to enjoy this beer twice today: once on tap and then from the growler a few hours later. I went out to Town Hall after work, and came home to find out that my roommates had picked up a growler earlier in the day. The beer from the growler wasn't as full-flavored and it had that cooked vegetable taste at the end that kinda ruined the experience for me. Had I been taking notes at Town Hall tonight, this brew would have garnered higher ratings.

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Photo of hero27
4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

½ gallon growler.

Took home a growler from the brewery...after sampling it again on cask (which still deserves a 5, in my book). The hops are more predominant on-tap, both in aroma and flavor...they really jump around on the tongue. Absolutely yummy.

Not quite as smooth as on cask, but still delicious. Unless you're allergic to hops, you must try this brew...and I personally think it's even worth it if you'd be one helluva way to go.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the brewery in Minneapolis. Masala Mama had an amber color with a slight cloudy haze. About the normal color of a IPA if not maybe slightly darker. There was a big o’frothy head which left a good amount a lacing throughout the tasting. The head retention was excellent and remained the whole time. The smell was super hoppy with strong notes of grapefruit and pine. A big floral nose with no doubt of being an IPA. This really is very noticeable and even more impressive as its not an double IPA.

Have you heard of James and the Giant Peach? This was Aaron with the Giant Hops. The hop flavor was very pronounced for an IPA (would have been nice for a double IPA). There was a slight bite at the top and very tingy but replaced by a sweet hop aroma. I would say some magnum and amarillo are represented here. A bit of an oily aftertaste is noticeable which I felt was a little over the top. The hop mixed the citrus and grapefruit flavor very well, which is difficult for a lot of IPA’s. The huge hop flavor overshadows the malt though. The malt backing was surprisingly better then expected but is overshadowed and made slightly pungent due to the oiliness of the hops. The sweet malt flavor extenuates the knock out hop flavor though. Maybe some hints of caramel too. Overall, very impressive hop taste but just over the line with the oiliness to it.

The body was very good for the hoppiness of this beer. As you continue to drink Masala it becomes smoother and smoother. Really this was a fantastic beer and worth the praise.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

tavernjef sent me a growler of this just in time for me to take it to NC to share with my brother. THANK YOU! Let's start by saying- wow, what a nice treat, and it held up very well against (in fact, shone brighter than) Titan IPA, HopHog, Alesmith IPA - all also sampled over the weekend.

Rich copper pour with thick head. Superb lacing - lots of fun to see those patterns in my glass.

Aroma seemed wonderous for a single IPA. Really nice blast of hops hits first, and then a balance of sweet smelling malt rounds out the experience.

Well, after the smell, we both expected the beer would taste good, but damn Sam, this was heavenly - a great balance between the hops and the malt, which became even more apparent as the beer warmed in the glass.

Mouthfeel is almost creamy in the finish, and features a medium-light body. Carbonation level, even being in a growler, is really good.

Drinkability - well, do you need to ask?!? Holy cow - if this were available in GA, I'd be knocking em down left and right. Tremendous beer out of a state not often the first to come to mind when you think of brewpubs - however, this is one fine offering - might be the best single IPA I've ever had. Really does rival the Alesmith IPA and the Alpha King and a few others I love.

Thanks again, tavernjef...

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Photo of fisherman34
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly copper in colour with a wonderful nose of citrus (a combination of orange and grapefruit) and spice (somewhat peppery) hops. Very fresh hoppy flavor and a long finish. Not overly malty or heavy, but that was a good thing in this case. Medium carbonation and high drinkability. A fantastic IPA to say the least.

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

Poured a dark, reddish amber color with a small, off white head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of light floral and citrus hops, light caramel malts in the background. Taste of mostly the same, with lots of fruity hoppiness, a really nice IPA.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to tavernjef for a growler of this rare sighting in my neck of the woods.
Pours a dark copper color with a full finger of bright white head...very foamy, very attractive. Lacing is quite thick and has exceptional cling.
Aroma is nothing overpowering, but very nice...bitter hops in the nose along w/ carmelized malt to balance it out.
The taste is really where this beer shines...tons of fruity hops up front w/ a boat load of malts to back it up. This has to be one of the most well balanced IPA's I have ever tried.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...even w/ this puppy filled two weeks ago.
I am so glad I got the chance to try this would be in constant rotation if it was available in my area.
Drinkability is needless to say through the roof...this growler is almost gone and I'm already bummin'.
Highly recommend to all fans of the IPA.

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

( Served in an American pint glass)

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

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

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

M-medium-full mouthfeel with a nice chewy sensation

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

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

beautiful deep orange with a hint of red body. clear. frothy off white head. nice smell of citric like hops, freshness, kind of sweet, hops are not too faint, but not a killer, a bit bready. wow, this one is bitter. it's the first thing my tastebuds respond to, like the hops know exactly where to head to on your toung and they get there quick. then there is a second wave of hops in the after tase that seem to have orders to attack once all of the first wave of hops die. on the front side there is more than the normal amount of roasted barley, this one has some color and malt sweetness up front. just enough to give the beer some kind of ballance untill the hops do their thing. mouthfeel is slick and oily, but the hops oils are not so much that your mouth is left feeling sticky. very smooth. drinkability is good because as for ipa's go this one does it very well and i could down a couple of these in a session, especially after my pallet warms up to the hops.

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Photo of Skidz
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Major thanks to jeffboo for this growler of glory...

Pours out deep amber and sits amber brown in the glass with a large off-white head, puttering down slowly to a nice skim and lacings to boot.

Smells potently fruity, dripping of orange, grapefruit lemon and a dusting of pine. Nice malty core complete with caramel, toasted biscuit and just a slight hint of nuts.

Tastes mildly sweet up front caramel and walnuts off the bat. Hops stike a resounding chord of grapefruit rinds, sweet orange, stong pine resin and lemon zest. Melts in the mouth, coating your throat with hop oils, finishing well-bittered, pine needles stuck to the tongue.

Smooth, creamy and pretty much every other adjective to describe "it makes me feel good all over." Carbonation is medium-light and well-balanced. Medium-full in body, can't ask for much more here.

Fantastic IPA, stands up to the hype 100%. Will look for this in the future, dreaming all the while. Again, a big IOU to jeffboo.

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Photo of PatYoda
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler shipped lovingly by mentor! Thanks buddy! I was very worried about the condition this would come to me in since it is at least 2 weeks old and has been driving around in 90 degree weather all day today, not to mention while in transit for the past 3 days. But the packaging was great and if this is any better on tap fresh at the brewery, I don't think I could handle it!

Appearance is perfect. Beautiful clear amber with a long lasting off white head that leaves some intricate lacing. Smell definitely kicks you in the head. A very distinct, sharp citrus aspect stands out, but pine needles are definitely there. Some perceptible alcohol as well. Taste is beyond bold! Sweet juicy citrus fruit up front. Grapefruits and oranges for sure. Tons and tons of resiny pine sap hops dominate as well, and these are well complemented by a thick bodied mouthfeel. Hardly any malt to be found here. Then the bitterness hits you, or should I say "stabs" you! It leaves a little bit of grapefruit flavor behind to tease you, but other than that it's just a really sharp, clean bitterness which begs you to take another sip, but you can't because a double dose of all these flavors is too much. You have to wait, intently staring the Mama down. I think this is the bitterest beer I've had, though Ruination is listed at 100+ IBUs, this is more bitter - I could actually feel it numbing my palate after the first couple of sips. Luckily if you wait to take another sip, you get to feel the wonderful effect the beer has on the inside of your mouth. This is really hard to describe, but it almost feels like someone has administered a really weak local anesthetic to your mouth. Like I said, hard to describe. You'll have to feel it yourself and quit making fun of my analogical skills, jerk. Anyway, I love it.

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Photo of mntlover
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copper color with a nice two finger off white-head that falls to a foam like iceberg and leaves nice webs of lace on my glass.

Aroma is sweet some hint of caramel malt mixed with fruit oranges, melons nice fruity sweet. There are some pine resins and herbal spicey hops that sneak out from underneath the fruity sweetness. This is one nice hoppy smelling IPA.

Taste is full of hops fruity citrus flavors grapefruit, orange peel and pineapple mingle with what caramel malt survives, this beer seems like all hops but the malt is in there and balances out nicely just seems like too many hops. The finish is herbal with some pine resin mixed that leaves a lingering bitterness that over shadows the sweeet maltiness thats still there.

Mouthfeel is medium, don't notice much malt in the flavor so many hops but its there and you can feel it and it does add some flavor.

Drinkability is great, hell of a regular IPA no problems finishing this 64ozs off wishing I had more already. Thanks tavernjef for this fine sample.

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

I had Masala Mama from the cask pump today. I've had this beer before on tap, but it tastes even better at cellar temperature.

Appearance was a nice bronze color and after settling had about a half-inch of off-white foam. I do so love watching cask-conditioned beers settle - a combination of the visual display and the anticipation of what is to come. The smell was good, but didn't give much away - only subtle floral notes. Taste was outstanding. Citrus flavor from the hops and boy, did it go down easy. Mouthfeel was very good - exactly what I've come to expect in IPAs. Drinkability was very good as well - I'd love to ease through an afternoon sipping a few of these. Too bad commitments today kept me from having more than one.

Masala Mama is one of my favorites at Town Hall and an easy choice when it is on cask.

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Photo of ThisOnesOnMe
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For all the reviewers out there who only drank this in a growler, they need to try it in person, but only if its being served from a cask. Town Hall rotates their beers from on tap to cask every few days so its sometimes hard to get what you want. However, the Masala Mama is very popular from the cask, so it is there often. And that is with good reason, because even though it is good from the growler, its way better in the cask. Something about the exact temperature and the mouthfeel of the casked beer makes you stop caring that its one of the more bitter beers you've had. How can something be too bitter when it rolls down so smooth. The bottom line is that when its on tap, the carbonation gives it a sharp mouthfeel. There is also something in the growler that is sharp also. On cask, it looses the sharpness, which allows you to just enjoy the beautiful hops cascading over your tongue.

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

This beer poured a pale gold color, with a frothy head of millions of teeny-tiny bubbles. The first whif reveals an intense hop aroma...American hops, citrusy hops. Little malt aroma can be discerned behind the hops. The hops dominate the flavor well into the aftertaste. Balance is tipped to the bitter side. The beer was served through a beer engine at cellar temperatures and you HAVE to try it if you are there. The only thing I think would make this beer better is a bit more malt.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahhh...what could be better to come home to after a long day at work than a fresh growler of the infamous Masala Mama sitting on your doorstep. Pours from the growler a brilliant shade of reddish orange with a fluffly, sticky mountain of it falls it leaves wonderful intricate patchy lacing on the side of my glass. My mouth is watering already. As I pick up my glass and bring it to my nose I'm instantly hit by a wave of ripe, succulent hop aromas. Rich, resiny grapefruit, peach, pineapple, mango and various other citrus fruits mix with a hint of pine sap. Sweet candy caramel maltiness mixes into my make this smell like a big citrusy hop candy. Sit....smell...repeat incessantly.

First sip brings a smooth, rush of lupulin laden hoppiness. Massive citrus tones rush over my tongue along with a hint of herbal pine. A sweet, mellow caramel, bready maltiness seems to have a symbiotic relationship to the hops. The sweetness comes first and finishes off with just the right amount of bitterness on the back of the palate. Incredibly flavorful...I get hints of all the citrus fruits I mentioned above with each sip. Nothing less than a lovingly made IPA...exceptionally balanced and simply a delight to all lovers of the hops.

Silken smooth, creamy mouthfeel that has just enough carbonation...I could nearly mistake this for being off cask. Each sip I take makes me want to take another and so on. Man..I would be drinking this all the time if I had access to all day drinkable IPA. Sometimes I think I get caught up in the double IPA's and pushing the envelope...however then I come across a brew like this that uses elegance, balance and obvious brewing skills to create one of the best IPA's that has yet to touch my lips. I might shed a tear when this growler is Minnesota folks are quite lucky to have easy access to this brew. Maybe one day they will bottle it...until then I must thank feloniousmonk for the opportunity.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,365 ratings.
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