Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

679 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: 679 | Ratings: 1,368
Photo of wspscott
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pint glass at the bar (best conference bar ever)

A: Light copper color, crystal clear with a thin off-white head
S: Massive hop bomb, citrus, tropical fruit, floral, smells sweet from the hops
T: Very bitter, but not aggressively so, tastes "refined", lots of citrus and fruit. A very small amount of malt/caramel sweetness, almost dry.
M: Lots of carbonation helps keep it dry, a hop delivery mechanism
O: An over the top IPA, tastes like an over the top homebrew IPA that was made with no regard to hops use/efficiency, one of those beers that if this was a 5 gallon batch would take a pound of hops. Absolutely love this beer. I would be in heaven if I lived around the corner of the bar, I would have one of these every night.

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Photo of yamar68
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From growler, poured to imperial Surly pint glass. Brewed three days ago, bottled a few hours ago:

Pours a dark gold, pushing crimson. Clear as a bell, slow and steady beading. A sweet sticky head leaves behind all sorts of lacing.

Prickly pine, resinous, nectarine, citrus syrups, some darker creamy malts keep things in balance. This beer's got quite a nose on it.

Smooth on the tongue considering the strong coniferous element. Orange peel bitterness, aggressive hop presence that somehow manages to avoid hindering the overall drinkability. Delicious. The body is a bit thin but that doesn't take much away from an otherwise spectacular beer.

If you're ever in Minneapolis, most definitely try this one out.

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Photo of zac16125
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a pint glass

A big thanks haveanother1 for sending yet another long time want over in a trade. Thanks John.

A: Pours a crystal clear, dark amber with reddish hues and 2 fingers of light tan colored head.  Heads takes a long time to dissipate down and leaves a good amount of cobweb lacing.  

S: Very hoppy aroma!  Piney, citrusy, resiny.  I get notes of grapefruit, mango, mint, juniper and a solid sweet malt base to balance it out. This smells wonderful.  

T: Pine, juniper, and mint.  Right off the bat this is very earthy.  Not much citrus on the tongue, maybe some citrus rind.   Has a nice strong bitterness but not overly so.  Citrus characters comes out as it warms, including orange and lemon zest.

M/D: I was worried about the carbonation, it being a growler shipped 1,500 miles and all, but no issues here.  In fact the carbonation is perfect.  Body is medium, with a big drying finish. Drinkability is average for the style.  

O: Overall, it's damn good but not top tier IMO.  This may be a case of limited availability equating to hype.  That being said, it is rather unique in that it has huge piney/resiny characteristics but the bitterness is held in check, so if those flavor are your cup of tea I could see how this cold be your holy grail.  Personally I prefer my hops to be of the citrus variety, so this one comes up a bit short in my eyes.  Still very good though, and worth seeking out.  I will have no trouble finishing and enjoying the rest of this growler.  

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Photo of zeledonia
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub. Finally reviewing this, one of my hometown's renowned brews. I can't believe I've waited so long.

Pours a clear medium amber with light orange hues. Brought with only a thin cap of head, but I suspect there would have been more at the pour. Fantastic lacing, like cobwebs stuck all over the inside of the glass.

Smell is delightful. Rich and full, with the perfect malt base to present the fine character of the hops. Hop aromas are a mix of sweet orange and sticky pine. Very nice. The weird thing about this is that the malts provide the absolute perfect stage, and I don't think the hops quite live up to it.

Taste is pretty much what I'd expect from a relatively low-ABV IPA. Fairly grainy, followed up quickly by a bitter burst that carries little other flavor with it. There is a bit of juicy fruit, like peaches.

Medium-bodied with a juicy, slightly sticky feel. Carbonation is medium-low, but right where it should be. Nice dry finish that allows the bitter to last just long enough.

A good, fairly balanced IPA. I like it, and am particularly impressed with the malt base. IMO, the hop aromas and flavors don't quite measure up to the best that I've had. If I had to describe it in one word: juicy.

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Photo of brystmar
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler shared by a generous BA at our tasting this weekend.

Cool looking growler; reminds me of the Russian River ones. Floral, piney, slightly citrusy aroma -- full of fresh hops!

Full blast of hops confront my palate, seemingly devoid of malt (as expected from a Single IPA). Despite others' insistence that this beer was rather malty, I didn't detect any.

Although Single IPAs are not my thing, I can appreciate a job well done. If you like this style, you'll love Masala Mama.

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

Hand pull into a shaker pint, at the brewery.

Lovely golden cascade settles out to a brilliantly clear amber body capped by a perpetual magnolia head. Ultra-fine lacing.

Fruity aromatics suggest citrus and flowers. Delicate, and inviting bouquet.

Bursting with an ever-shifting hop complexity - rosewater, melon, tropical fruit, grains of paradise, orange-zest, tangerines, on and on and on... A mild bitterness pairs with crisp malt into the bright medium finish. Superlative.

Medium-bodied with fine lovely carbonation - the cask delivery elevates the mouth-feel to perfection.

Some might find this beer a touch sweet, but the mastery of craft is clearly on display, with the hops contributing the maximum in flavor with a minimum (yet still sufficient amount) of bitterness. The emphasis is on flavor and drinkability. I've had vanishingly few pints of the style that provided this much enjoyment.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared at FosterJM's birthday celebration courtesy of smarcoly.

Pours a clear dark orange with an orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and some herbal hops. There is also a faint hint of funk in the aroma. Taste is pretty much the same without any funk in the flavor. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the slight whiff of funk in the nose is a bit off putting.

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Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a Spaten tumbler. A clear dark toasted orange color. Millions of large carbonation bubbles lead to a large two finger head that is dark tan in color and very creamy in appearance.

Smell is a fantastic tropical fruit bomb. Pineapple, tangerine, orange and just a bit of earthy bread.

Taste is balanced. The malt body tastes of bread and earth go side by side with the fruity tones of this one. I am getting some over ripe orange, blood orange mixes with some pink grapefruit.

Mouth is smooth with creamy carbonation. Body is balanced and the finish is long and dry.

Overall I must first thank TIMMYJ21 for this growler. This one is a bit hyped, so I must ground the myth. This is a great IPA but not (IMO) the holy grail. Very good and a must try if you get the chance but don't trade the farm for this one.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler received in trade from Schlais, big thanks for a longtime want.

Beautiful bronze/copper elixir poured in SA glass, thick white two-finger head, copious Belgian lacing throughout.

Subtle pine, more caramel, bready malt, sugar.

Well balanced between the hops and malt. Some orange rind, citrus.

Well carbonated, faint bitterness.

A bit of a disappointment. Rated #2 IPA. Hardly. Very well balanced and a quality brew, but not within the top 10. No IPA rated this high should have this much of a malt bill.

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Photo of rawfish
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to younger35 for the opportunity to try this.

A vigorous pour nets two finger rocky off white head over a copper hued crystal clear body. Great retention with a bit of stick on the glass.

Bready with quite a bit of caramel sweetness lay down a solid foundation for the hops to shine over with lots of tropical tones, mango, pineapple and orange citrus notes, gets quite floral with a bit of alcohol coming out as well.

Caramel malt with some bready flavor, hops are flavorful with more citrus and lemon pith than tropical with a good amount of sticking herbal hemp bitterness and a smooth transition.

Medium bodied, carbonation is smoothed out from being poured from a growler but in no way is it flat. Doesn't dry horribly well but leaves a pleasant hop flavor and bitterness behind. Alcohol is moderately hidden.

A very good ipa with great tropical aroma and big citrus hop flavor. Rather balanced, just a few rough edges keep this from being a top tier ipa. Still very delicious and I'm glad to pour another glass.

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

Growler opened on 4.17.12 thanks to Schlais.

A - Pours a dark, clear orange with a foamy light tan head. Good retention.

S - Bready, oranges, light carmel, and pine.

T - A roller coaster or carmel, bread, citrus, oranges and hoppy pine.

D - Good carbonation, whew! I was worried since it was a growler, but the counter-pressure fill helped here. No bitterness at all.

O - Very, very well balanced. Bread, orange, and pine. All present, but not one dominates. I usually prefer my IPAs as hop forward, but this has to be the best balanced IPA I have ever had.

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

A- A dark orange and caramel appearance. Poured a tad too vigorous and a two finger head is the result. The lacing is a lingering white.

S- Refreshing hops and malt. It smells sweet.

T- This beer is amazing. Very comparable to Hill Farmstead Galaxy. It's crisp and the carbonation is perfect.

M- Carbonation is great and it goes down very light.

O- I love this beer. Credit to Mista for this one! It's an amazing, refreshing IPA. I think I am drinking it too fast, but it's just so damn enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a finger of fluffy off white head that fades to a reasonable layer on top of the pour. This is a good looking beer.

Smell: Sweet and hoppy with strong citrus peel notes as well as some bready malt.

Taste: More malt than I expected up front, but it's not particularly unwelcome. Citrus peel bitterness is quite nice, enjoying the west coast hops. The finish is bitter. The only complaint is that there is a slightly buttery flavor in the malt, but not enough to be a real problem.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good IPA. I would definitely go back to have more in the future.

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Photo of beagle75
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with over one finger of off-white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Distinctly piney, with stand-out crystal malt lining up alongside. Otherwise, the smell is very clean.

T: Begins almost dry, with evident crystal malt and savory herbaceous hops. Malt persists into the middle where some late acidity becomes apparent. Bitterness is fairly pronounced in the finish, still retaining residual malt qualities from earlier in the profile.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and balanced on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: Shockingly familiar, this IPA seems to share the same malt bill of a friend's home-brew. As a name-recognition American IPA it is over-rated. On a positive note, it's assertive malt qualities position it most favorably among those other IPAs thought of as East-Coast style.

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Photo of bashiba
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank on cask.

Poured a nice hazzy amber with a great creamy cask head. Very sticky and tons of of lacing.

The smell was a bit light, with mild buscit malt and a bit of grapefruit.

The flavor followed the nose, a malt forward ipa, very rich with english caramal, nice toffee and biscuit. The hops are light and citrusy, with a good medium bitterness.

The mouthfeel has that great medium cask fullness with the silky smooth texture that accompanies a good firkin.

Good cask ipa, could use more dry hopping or some nice fresh cask hopping would really put this over the top.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you to MBrausen for providing me with a growler of this. The growler made a nice, crisp, CO2 pop, which made me happy. Pours a clear, light amber color with a large, off-white head. Scent is nice and hoppy...very nice hop aroma with some floral hops as well. Not much maltiness going on, which is surprising since this isn't from the west coast. Taste is very well balanced with some dry hoppiness and a nice amount of hop resin. Floral hops with pine and a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp finish. Drinkability is very high. Overall, I can understand the hype over this its drinkability and easy sessionability is ridiculous. I could have drank this whole growler by myself. Unfortunately, I feel like its fame will die off shortly, as there is nothing overly "stand-outish" about this beer. Very well done though.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for orchestrating this trade

Review adapted from notes taken 9/12/11

Appearance: Dark orange/amber, darker than the average IPA - ridiculously clear - really nice white head, impressive lacing

Smell: Definitely an IPA, but malty, too - nicely cooked biscuits - lots of citrus, orange rind, grapefruit rind - floral citrus, pine - balanced

Taste: Balanced with a ton of pith - great malt profile and great hops - very biscuity, with some bread crust - some malt sweetness, as well as some light fruit sweetness - orange and grapefruit flesh, rind, zest - tons and tons of pith, with a lingering pithy bitterness that builds over time - personally, this is too much pith - otherwise great

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, nicely carbonated, but I would like it to be a bit more dry

Overall: Balanced and unique, but not legendary

The malt profile of this beer, surprisingly, is possibly the most remarkable thing about Masala Mama. Biscuity and bread crusty, it almost has some bock-like qualities that really help balance the hops. The hop profile is impressive, but not exactly what I want in an IPA.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks IrishColonial for sharing this growler!

A. Pours a mostly clear copper orange. I love IPAs that pour this deep color. About a quarter finger of crisp white head provides a nice contrast. Really nice tightly beaded lacing.

S. Really good. Tropical fruits, pineapple, orange peel. A nice caramel malt presence too.

T. Zesty, spicy hops. Lots of pine resin and floral flavors. Fairly bitter finish. Nice.

M. Well balanced. Perhaps a bit strong on the carbonation. Good blend of flavors though.

O. A very good IPA. Hop heads will love how bitter and bold this is. I thought the finish was just a bit too bitter and drying and the malt presence a bit thick. Pretty full bodied for an IPA: couldnt have more than one or two.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

HUGE thankyou to biglobo8971 for sending this to me in round 3 of the growler BIF (along with a TON of other well thought out selections). Splitting this with my wife as the superbowl kicks off (GO BIG BLUE!!!)

a - poured a crisp transparent ruby amber with a classic frothy head that slowly defoamed away leaving chunky milk shake like lacing all over the glass.

s - really nice prickly sticky piny hops and a splash of citrus and orange peel. classy balance of some toffee like malts...almost a bit like a really fresh hoppy barleywine.

t - bitter bomb. good malt backbone as suggested in the nose, very piny. like a really fresh hoppy barleywine.

m - good carb, balanced feel. touch of a bitter bite in the finish.

o - overall a very solid ipa. great beer to watch my giants with in the big game!

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

12/23/10. Huge thanks to DalzAle for this growler at the QC Christmas tasting! Growler. Nice orange pour with a fluffy off-white head. Huge tropical fruits, pine, citrus, and a dash of caramel in the aroma. Awesome sweet tropical fruits blended nicely with caramel and more. Stellar.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

64 oz. growler bought straight from the brewpub today. Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear copper amber orange with lots of rising bubbles and a huge five fingers of white head with decent retention. Lots of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Big aroma of fresh citrus hops with lots of grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and mango. Good hints of pine resin underneath the citrus aroma. Light hints of sweet caramel malts in the background. Very hop forward here. Smells very good.

Taste: Big taste of citrus fruit hops upfront with notes of grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, and mango juice. Midway comes a good taste of pine resin which pricks the tongue with some spice. Some sweet malts come through with notes of caramel and toffee. Taste is hop forward but not quite as bitter as one might expect. Fairly sweet and juicy. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and very smooth for such a hop forward beer. Finishes moderately dry.

Overall: A great IPA. One of the better ones in the Midwest.

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

Thanks to biglobo8971 for including this one in round 2 of the Growler+ BIF

This has been a want since I heard about Town Hall.

Growler opened with a nice release of pressure and pours a bright, golden amber with fluffy white head. The smell is all american hops. Tons of citrus fruit, grapefruit, pineapple with a touch of pine. Taste is more of the same. Lots of hops with a strong bitterness and very little malt character to speak of. The mouthfeel was nice, the counter-pressure filled growler really held up well. Overall, this is a very solid IPA and worth trying. I would put it in the same category as Odell's IPA which is readily available to me, and from memory, no better or worse than this one. Bottom line, if you can get it, it is worth trying, but I won't specifically be seeking this one out again.

edit: I checked my scores for Odell's IPA and they were actually exactly the same, for what that is worth.

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

Poured on tap at Town Hall Brewery into a pint glass.

A. 1.5 finger thick head, golden red hue, soft for ring ever after sitting

S. Smells sweet, grape fruit, pine and lots of citrus

T. The tastes is sweet, slightly bready, a tiny bit bitter like grapefruit, and a little bit tart. Light pine overtone.

M. Medium body, mildly chewy with a very wet finish. Very easy to drink

O. This is a great beer. A go-to anytime IPA for me. I could drink this every weekend. Wait! I do! Great flavor and easy to drink keeps you coming back for more.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.47/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap on a trip to Minnesota and even brought a growler home. The bartender told me that this is the beer that they hand their collective hats on. While I thought it was good, I was not as impressed as others.

The golden orange color gave a half inch head in the pint glass. It had a rather hoppy aroma, but I did not detect the same citrus hints that others detected. The hops hit you in the initial taste with some citrus notes following. It follows with a bitter hoppy aftertaste that entertains the sides of the tongue for some time.

As far as IPA's go, this is better than most. Still, I was not overly impressed. The citrus hints were well hidden and I could not find a strong note of anything particularly unique.

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

Poured from growler into Globe glass. Thanks to Jesse for hooking this one up.

A. Pours a 2 finger head. Excellent retention. Almost a permanent centimeter of continuous head. Solid lacing. Color is very dark orange.

S. Smell is about the hop. Tropical citrus aroma, mixed with a little pine. Grapefruit, and a pretty bitter hop aroma.

T. Smooth. Nice dry biscuity malt lies beneath really nice hop flavor. Incredibly easy drinking. Grapefruit and other tropical citrus hop flavors; oranges, apricots. Like the malt base to this beer. Tongue coating bitterness. Not over the top, but definitely present bitterness. This might be what is missing the most from a lot of other IPAs.

M. Great mouthfeel for an IPA. Lingering bitterness.

O. Been waiting a long time to try this one. I would very much consider myself a hop head so this has always been on the radar. The guy that brought me this growler said Masala tastes like marmalade. I think that is an extremely accurate description. Super easy drinking, and very flavorful IPA.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,368 ratings.
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