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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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,375 |  Reviews: 680
Photo of jjayjaye
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Made a bee-line to Minneapolis Town Hall when I got into town for Darkness Day. First serving was a Barrel Aged Grang Cru that was amazing (another story). I've had this from growler thanks to maximum12. This one from one of the cask engines. Pours a surprisingly cloudy and a dark shade of amber with better than full finger stiff chalky yellow head that resists fading, leaving sheets of Belgian lace behind. The smell is aggressive and an amazing sweet lemon-orange citrus combo. Slightly less carbonated than my growler, the mouth feel is medium bodied and creamy smooth. Full flavored, the taste isn't as sweet as the nose; the presence of citrus mix is overridden by oily notes of pine that linger nicely. At less than 6% ABV this one is a killer session.

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Photo of discovolante65
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler....thanks Lordsloth!!
I was worried about the freshness on this one, but nothing to fear after having it.

Pours a blood orange with a nice inch and a half or so of slightly off-white head. Great legs/lacing. nice amount of carbonation.

Smells like fresh grapefruit with some other orange/citrus smells going on as well. Slight malt/honey smell with it too.

Taste is just awesome. Perfect amount of hops explosion that lingers but never gets too bitter. Great hop resin stickyness that is balanced out by some malt sweetness that is very reminiscent of honey on toast. I am happily surprised by the balance in this one.

Mouthfeel is spot on. Good medium body with a nice amount of carbonation that I think plays a good role in the taste. Maybe that sounds weird, but I'm sticking to it.

Drinkability - well, I wish I had more than a growler of this. So sad to finish this an know that I will have to beg someone for another one....this is a top 10 IPA for me!

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Photo of hardy008
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has a beautiful amber orange color with an off white head with good retention.Smells like grapefruit peeling with some mango. The taste is the same, has a nice combination of sweetness from the malt and bitter hops. This is a well balanced beer, and is very smooth and easy to drink. This is a very good beer. I recommend trying it if you get the chance.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewpub in August 2009.

A: Poured a dark orange color with a good amount of off-white head.

S: Very, very nice--the nose has a lot of citrus hops with a little bit of a tropical background. Some caramel type malt in the background.

T: I agree with a few others that there might be a little too much malt here; I'd like to be able to feel a little presence without tasting too much of it. Very, very tasty, but I wish the hops had the opportunity to shine a little bit more here.

M: Light to medium body with a good amount of carbonatino and not much alcohol kick.

D: Quite high. Would have liked to have pint after pint of this.

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Photo of will4240
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Town Hall, one of those "holy shit did I really just drink that?" beers.

A- Very orange-y in my opinion. Fantastic 1.5 finger head coupled with unfreaking believable lacing. This is one sexy looking brew.

S- Very much a hoppy smelling beer. Orange-y and citrus-y smelling. Yummy to say the least.

T- Wow, talk about smoooth. Fantastically balanced with just enough kick with from the hops to leave you astounded. Complex and yet quite subtle. AMAZING.

M- VERY smooth up until you hit the hops, then you get what you expect.

D- I can and have and will drink this all day.

Wow, just wow...

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Photo of jrallen34
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a growler into a chalice.

It pours a very dark orange with a big white. There is great lacing and it is surprisngly clear for its darkness of color.

The aroma is nice and subtle. Orange zest hits on the front end but the hops are present.

The tatse is complex with a nice sweet start, hops are present always and really show them self on the end. Its a nice bitter finish but not to bitter so it allows for big swigs and heavy drinking.

The feel is great, lasts several seconds, the hops stay even after you swallow.

Is it drinkable? Hell yeah, crushed a growler with my girlfriend in about an hour.

This is great IPA, slightly higher in my book than PtE.

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Photo of blackearth
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, MN. Pours a dark gold body with a fluffy, off-white head. Aroma was of spicy floral hops. This beer was full bodied with spicy carbonation. The flavors boasted lots of nutty malts and a ton of hops that was a bit astringent tasting. My friend Bob got it as well, but on cask. The color was a bit darker with thousands of tiny bubbles making up the foam, like a nitro stout would have. Hop flavors were a bit muted from the original version, and it had this great creamy mouthfeel. I recommend the cask version over the regular version.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This growler came courtesy of tytoanderso....many thanks for the opportunity. Pours out a red amber color (pretty dark for an IPA) and a one finger white head that lasts for quite a while. Very sticky and sweet hop resins lift right off the glass in the aroma, along with some honey and tropical fruit such as mango and pineapple. Taste is very interesting in that the hop profile comes through the palate in waves of varying sweetness and bitterness. You really get mostly hops with this beer as far as flavor in concerned, with some caramel sweetness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation providing a nice prickly feeling on the tongue, and is well balanced. Drinkability is good with this one in that works as a session beer. Final thoughts are that this beer might not be entirely worthy of the hype. Is it good? Yes, maybe even great, but I am still sort of surprised that this one sits at the top of the class with so many others (Blind Pig, Sculpin) that are far superior in my opinion. Oh well, still an awesome beer that I would go for again and again if available. Cheers

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Photo of Hophead101
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

drank on 5.8.09 from a growler so generously sent to me by natasharai - thanks Tash!

It pours a nice hazy brownish copper color. a beautiful off white nearly tan head that lasted a worthy amount of time. Leaves a nice ring of foam around the edge of the glass reminding you of the head that once was. Smell is super flowery - full of hops. the oil in the hops comes through. there is also citrus notes (predominantly orange) throughout.

The taste totally follows the aroma. nice and crisp, good bittering hop taste. medium body, nice mouthfeel, hops stick around and coat the mouth nicely without overpowering.

all in all this beer is good. but again another instance of the hype-meter jacking this thing up a bit.

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Photo of ATPete
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

growler, Christmas in September! thanks again Noah!

Pours a warm copper color with excellent clarity. A peachy colored head leaves a beautiful net of thin lace around the glass, if this beer only had tits it would be a 5 for sure. Nice fruity nose, a fat dosing of C hops, resinous pine and mint. Bigger than expected to the tongue, not 'thick' or 'syrupy' just more going on than you would imagine. Peppery hops morph quickly to a burst of rindy citrus fruit and back to a slightly herbal note very quickly in the mouth. Very carbonated and bright. The word balance comes into play on the finish/aftertaste as a new world of caramel and bitterness opens up just seconds after the quaff is swallowed. Im really liking this one. Besides the glass given to my buddy, i will have no problem finishing this guy off. Try this beer if you can, believe the hype, its truly great. And while you're there you can send me another growler!

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Photo of mikey711
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade today from maxium12.

A: big puffy white head almost two fingers thick ontop of a coppery amber brew. Very good lacing and completely clear.

S: Piney and citrus, caramel sweetness comes out more once it warms.

T: Full of pininess and citrus followed by caramel and toffee very nice and mellow.

M: Very full and drinks way bigger than it is. Nothing wrong here.

D: Very easy to drink

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Photo of nickd717
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to deliriumfest.

A - Deep reddish-amber color with a lasting two-finger off-white head.

S - Great citrusy hop aroma with sweet malt and tropical fruits also present.

T - Sweet caramel malt and pineapple/grapefruit hops. No flaws and very good balance. Not quite a standout (Sculpin-level) in this regard, but still really good.

M - Medium bodied with a crisp finish and some lingering hop bitterness.

D - High for the style.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.55/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re-review based on a growler shipped by Buebie -- expedited at my request. Thanks, Brian.

A: Pours a rich amber with an inch of fluffy off-white head. It recedes into a film on the brew, but never goes away, and it leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S: The glass smells great. Pine hops dominate, with citrus, some floral notes, and a caramel and bready malt underneath. Very aromatic.

T: Follows the nose very well. Lots of citrus in the form of grapefruit pith and lots of sticky pine resin. Maybe a hint of floral hops, but that could just be the citrus carrying over. This isn't a hop bomb, though; there is substantial bread in the flavor, with a caramelly finish before pulling into a citrusy aftertaste. It's balanced, but it borders on an APA in my eyes. It's closer to middle-of-the-pack to me than top-of-the-line.

M: Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation that supports the style well. I'd like it a touch drier, though.

D: The second growler was much improved over the first one. I enjoyed it immensely, and can see why it's world-class in most people's eyes. I agree that it's fantastic, but I have a number of IPAs I would rank ahead of this one.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to rlcnmeyer for lugging this one back for me. Growlered on 08/17 as per the cap on the jug.

The beer pours a dark cherry mahogany with a massive 3 finger head leaving some crazy sick lacing down the entirety of the Tripel Karmeliet tulip that I poured it into. The aroma is massive grapefruit rind bitterness laced with pineapple sweetness and just a bit of burnt toffee from the malts. I'm surprised that the malts actually come out as much as the do in the aroma. Still its a pretty big hop slap to the olfactory nerve. The flavor is exactly expressed as a flavor as the nose is expressed in the aroma. Crazy. Its really odd to have the flavor be exactly like the aroma. Many times you say that but there are always slight differences but with Masala Mama its spot on. The mouthfeel is light with a crisp carbonation that tap dances on you tongue. This is the second time I have been able to try this beer, and god, I hope it never changes. Its spectacular.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another big thanks to mothman for hookin me up with this growler.

A: Clear, copper, orange color. The pour produces two full fingers of kahki head that retained for the entire glass, and left sheets upon sheets of thick lace.

A: Big citrus, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, maybe some mango as well. Nice use of crystal and sweet malts to try and give it some balance. But this one is obviously about the hops.

T: I get all the flavors I got in the nose, but the sweetness really hits me here. I'm getting some nice honey. The beer finishes very bitter from the great use of citrusy hops.

M: Medium body, aggressive carbonation. This one has a tingle.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is as high as an IPA could be. This one I could session all night. Overall, this is one fantastic beer. Is it the best IPA out there, maybe. Easily in the top five I've ever had. Great Skal.

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Photo of bryanbrick
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

GROWLER TIME! Yeah, this was sent to me by BDLbrewster, who over delivered with this trade. He may be my favorite person in the world right now. Poured into a big Bordeaux Schott Zwiesel glass.
This pours a serious head. One that comes builds to a inch and a half with the mildest of pours. That head, rocky and a pretty shade of soft tan sits on top of a deep amber colored beer with ruby highlights. The head leaves heavy sheets of lacing down the glass as it recoils back into the beer. Give it a swirl and it is back up without any hesitation, like beer on Viagra.

The nose is something special. A beautiful meshing here of resin-y, fresh, pitchy hops and a dense confectioners malt bill comes jumping out of the growler as soon as it is opened. The aromas of Kaffir lime, pine cone, tobacco and aspirin beat out the sticky pulled caramel, fresh doughnut and custard underneath. Something to behold.

The flavors are enormous. I mean big, West Coast big, palate obliterating big. But this beer has what so few of the "West Coast" IPAs have which is completely impeccable balance. The malt counteracts the intense hops perfectly, the bitterness is never overwhelming, but rather refreshing stripping the palate of the layers of malt that sit on the tounge. This is about as close to perfection that I've seen in an IPA. The medicinal, aspirin-y, tone left on the finish is the only thing keeping this from a 5 in my book.

The mouthfeel is awesome, plain and simple to have all these rich flavors and textures battling it out is a joy to behold. The carbonation is perfect for me, apparent but never obtrusive, just enough to clean things up a bit. Has a finish that seems to linger on for ever. I'm sure I'll be able to taste this beer long into the night. It makes me not want to brush my teeth before bed just so I can dream about it.

This is super drinkable! At less than 6% I want to drink the whole growler tonight and with the help of one glass for my neighbor and one for my Girlfriend I just might. Keep finding a way to go down my throat with ease.

I wish I had this locally. I'm sure everyone that has had it does. I don't know if I'd drink anything else, especially in the summer. Easily one of the best IPAs I've ever tasted and about as close to perfection as I've ever had.

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

thanks to justn for the trade

growler, hand-dated for 5-13. tasted in mid-may 2009, a few days after arrival.

deep, almost dark amber. faint haze. huge 2-finger light tan head is foamy, rocky and bumpy, gradually fading to a thin layer of wispy foam. great sudsy/foamy lacing (big bubbles).

aroma: fresh pine and citrus zest, with both grapefruit and orange in the mix, plus fruit tones of the actual citrus flesh, along with apple esters matching with caramel maltiness, which is just enough to bring a balance to the hops. some more piney resins in back.

taste: again a nice balance of boldly piney, citrusy hops, fruit esters, and caramelized malts. leans toward piney resins and citrus rind. moderate bitterness is both crisp yet resinous. touch of acidity towards the finish. more piney freshness in the aftertaste, but still with malt note underneath.

medium body, quite smooth, but resins cut in slightly with astringency. moderate carbonation gives gentle tingle, mostly just helping with flavor lift.

nice and fresh, although the hops are on the resinous side. good, almost great, and glad i got to try it, but i won't go out of my way to get some again.

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Photo of bwd110
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler sent to me by mnjeff. Thanks Jeff!
Poured into SA Perfect Pint Glass.

A: An aggressive pour yields a sturdy 1" cream head. Subsides to sticky clingy froth down the sides, good lacing throughout. Color is a nice light amber, fairly clear. Not sure an ipa could look better or more mouth watering.

S: Hops burst onto the scene immediately... Good fruit tones and some real pine notes coming through. Caramel malt is strangely prominent in the nose. Looks like the malt will not be taking a backseat in this ipa.

T: More of the same, bursting with hop flavor some big citrus, but the floral and piney hops resonate the most with me. Very, very bitter dry in the finish. The malt backbone is really strong in this beer. I like more balance than most, but this kind of befuddles me. The malt vies for attention with the flavoring hops, but doesn't help to smooth out the extreme bitter dryness at the finish. A great brew, nonetheless.

M: Very sticky and resinous mouthfeel. Coats the palate really well... A touch too dry, where's the pitcher of water?

D: My first glass was empty before I knew it, really enjoyed this beer. But like many IPAs, this one suffers just a pinch from the drying out factor. I do, however, need to resume my search... One growler just wasn't enough!

Overall, I really liked this beer. I'm not ready to anoint this the king of American IPAs, however. I think Sculpin edges this beer out in Taste and Aroma. But Masala Mama is the real deal, worthy of much of its lofty praise.

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Photo of Raugupatis
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was in Wisconsin for a friend's wedding and decided to expand my beer horizons. I was able to convince my wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law to take a side trip to the town hall brewery just after getting off of the plane.

I was glad I was able to use my powers of persuasion in support of the forces of good.

The Masala was delivered to my table with not much in the way of a head, but the rich color and near-floral hoppiness of the aroma that greeted my senses made up for it.

The hops were mildly bitter and tasty without being overwhelming. This does not taste like the product of Cascade Hops, but I did not get a chance to speak with the brewer to suppor tmy hypothesis.

This one finishes a lot smoother than your typical American IPA.

It is a wonderful example of my favorite style.

I also bought a growler to take with me to the wedding and it held up well for the three days it took me to open it up.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to mnjeff.

Pours a very clear, golden amber in color. A gorgeous two inches of head forms on the pour. Leaves wonderful webby lacing on the inside of the glass. Looks good.
Smell is citrusy, floral hops. Not pungent and huge, but enough to smell nice.
Taste is more of the citrus hops. There's just a little bit of bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel is super smooth and absolutely delicious. Definitely could drink an entire growler of this on my own without any hesitation.
Very good, smooth and drinkable IPA.

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Photo of pwoods
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to FtownThrowDown for sharing the growler. I've had this from a growler about 4 times, draft once, and cask once... it's about time I review it :)

A: Pours a somewhat deep amber with decent clarity. Good head on the pour with some retention. Decent lacing.

S: Good citrusy character, not over done. That definitely the most dominant hop character. Some light, sweet malts balance things out.

T/M: Good bitterness level, not over done and definitely the best from the batches I've had. Plenty of citrus with a little added resin and pine. Nicely balancing malts with a bit of sweetness and some toasty bread. Body is medium to medium light with moderate carbo.

D: Low ABV and very crushable.

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Photo of cbros
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this in a trade with mnjeff. Thanks Jeff!

Seving type- Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Growler poured into an oldskool Lowenbrau mug. There is a 8/10 written on the cap of the growler. I assume that this is a best by date. There is a plastic wrap around the cap, which is nice and tightly sealed.

A- Pours a deep orange color with a very nice white finger lace. There is an ample amount of carbonation activity after the pour. The cling is very nice, something I would expect from a beer of this stature.

S- There is a very strong piney citrus flavor note from this beer. So much so that I got a noce big whiff when I opened the cap of the growler.

T- A beautiful taste combination of the citrus and piney flavoring coming from the strong hop presence. The beer finishes off with a continuation of the bitterness that you taste in the beginning. Not a strong alcohol presence in this beer but the taste is very good and easily consumable. I would get addicted to this.

I can see why this is so highly rated. This is a very good IPA and I am sorry that I don't live in MN. Even though this is not a particularly strong beer I can see myself getting into trouble with this one, especially since this comes in growler form. This has to be one of the most well-rounded IPA's I have ever had. I am not certain if its the best but I must say that it is certainly up there in the top 5.

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

Growler received through trade with younger35..thanks Dan.

A: Nice deep amber color with a rocky head after each pour, crystal clear.

S: Big piney scent, some citrus, toffee. Pine pretty much dominates in this area.

T: Very tasty and enjoyable. Pine again, citrus notes, toffee. O polished off the entire growler over the course of a few hours so I was not complaining. Fairly balanced but the hops certainly dominated over the long haul.

M: Very nicely carbonated for being in a growler at least 5 days before I opened it up. Very drinkable but I did notice it got a little thicker and syrupy as the growler got lower.

D: Very high if you like the piney IPA's. I dont mind them at all so I had no issues with this brew. At only 5.9% abv it is a very sessionable ipa. I could certainly have a few of these in the fall when the weather gets cooler.

Overall it was a very good ipa and I would certainly trade for another growler of this down the road. If you are a hop lover and have not tried this I would recommend setting up a trade with some one in MN. I would say its a very good ipa but no the best. The surly furious I received in the same trade edged it out quite a bit. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kaiserbrown
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review, so apologies for form. I just bought this growler from Town Hall, which is in my neighborhood and which over the last 2+ years I've enjoyed thoroughly when I'm not slumming it at one of the other fine drinking establishments in the Seven Corners.

A: Poured into a 1 pint glass, the pour is an attractive occluded amber with slight carbonation. Head is light, off white, and has good lacing.

S: Hoppy, as a good IPA should be. Fresh, piney, but not bold or overpowering.

T: Delicious. The hops are perfectly chosen and well balanced with the nuanced underlying malts and citrus notes. Crisp as all get out.

M: Near perfect, with just the right level of bitterness on the tongue.

D: I tend to like heavier beers, but this is a perfect brew for a warm Minneapolis summer day. Probably not a session beer, but drinking a few is easy and enjoyable. My favorite of the overall quality beers made by Town Hall.

Overall: One of my favorite beers, and a real treasure from the heartland. It deserves its rating.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Pint Glass
TEMP: Approx 40 degrees (at pouring time)
Thanks to thehand for sharing this one!

Pours up a slightly dark, caramel-like, amber color, with some burnt orange tinting. A thick head of white foam forms easily and sticks around for quite awhile. Lacing is great.

Big piney notes hit me, right away. Nice floral presence. Definite citrus notes are here but they are more subdued. I can get just a slight hint of the underlying maltiness. Slight touch of nuttiness.

Big piney presenece dominates the taste. White grapefruit notes mix with hints of oranges. There is a good presence of caramel malt lurking in the underneath of this one. Unfortunately, the sweetness is just overpowered by the hoppy bitterness. Not quite enough balance for me to enjoy all the time.

Great medium body. Nice carbonation level. Very smooth and a tiny hint of creaminess. The bitter hop aftertaste is a big turn-off for me personally though.

I can see why this one is so well loved by the hopheads. I'm just not THAT into the whole hops loving thing, yet. I'm very glad to have tried it, but if it's another year until I taste it again, it'll be okay.

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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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