Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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675 Reviews

Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States | website

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: 675 | Ratings: 1,349
Photo of israel
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks justn for the opportunity to finally try this beer.

A- The head on this beer stood a full two inches over the rim of my pint glass, wow! Beautiful rocky, frothy tan head with some really extensive lacing that travels the whole length of the glass. Seems a bit dark for the style but not too far out of whack more of a dark amber IMO.

S- Very pleasant to smell and I pick up a lot of subdued grapefruit and citrus up front with some nice pine notes as well.

T- Hoppy to say the least. Lots of grapefruit and citrus but not as assaulting as say a dreadnaught. Seems like a wlel balanced beer without any real malt presence if that makes sense.

M- Nothing offensive or out of line just very pleasant.

D- I'm thinking this growler doesn't stand a chance!

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of JoshVandy
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Having been wanting to try this for some time, so big thanks to Chriscrundwell12 for the growler. Greatly appreciated.

64oz. growler into a Town Hall tulip glass.

A- Pours a very nice dark orange/amber color with a brilliant 1.5 ginger white head that looms above for a long time before settling to a fine rim. Fantastic lacing and retention as I empty the glass, even after 45+ minutes.

S- Lots of fresh grapefruit, orange, and plenty of hop presence integrated perfectly with sweet caramel malts. I could smell this beer for hours and still be happy. What a beautiful aroma.

T- Definitely follows the nose quite well, with nice grapefruit, citrus and pine notes mingling together nicely up front. A sweet caramel malt backbone with some slight bread characteristics makes it appearance and really rounds out the flavor. Great bitter kick in there at the end as well.

M- Smooth, light and somewhat creamy, with medium carbonation. A very easy drinking beer that feels like silk going down.

O- Went into this beer expecting the world, or at least a semi-life changing experience, and didn't come up empty. A very well balanced IPA that has one of the best smells and mouthfeels I've had for the style. Goes down way too easily, which shouldn't be a surprise. Bottom line, this is something any fan of hoppy and balanced beers should seek out. Now, if I only lived closer.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a orange/amber color with a white head retention that stays fairly long and has lots of lacing.

S- The smell is truly amazing. Lots of my favorite hop flavors: grapefruit and a variety of citrus/passion fruit. The hops were balanced by the malts and is one of my favorite smelling IPAs I've had.

T- Definitely follows the nose well, with grapefruit, citrus and pine notes mingling together nicely up front and clear tasting throughout the flavor profile especially up front. A malt backbone balances the hops well and it has a nice bittering finish. This beer is highly drinkable and I really enjoyed drinking two of them on my visit to the Town Hall.

M- Smooth with medium carbonation. Very smooth on the palate.

O- A great IPA and hits what I want in an IPA. Great aroma and taste. Outstanding balance. Complex but also easily to drink. Just a great beer. I've had few IPAs that I thought are better so this one deserves the praise it is receiving.

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Photo of phisigben
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Thick head about two finger width, redish/dark orange color, the head somewhat quickly dissipates after a minute or two

Smell - Fruity hops is the first and foremost aroma with a slight twinge of citric tones

Taste - Really smooth and flavorful with the fruitier hops at the front end then as it leaves the tongue the bitterness comes across the tongue. The bitterness is very good not over powering but exactly what I expect out of a single IPA.

Mouthfeel - I tend to levitate to beers with more of a fuller mouth feel so when it comes to IPA's I usually don't expect a lot, but this beer has hands down the best mouth feel I have ever had from this style.

Drinkability - The drinkability is great the only down side is I can't get this in Indiana

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What we've got here is a bonafide hop bananza

Pours medium clarity and orange...bright orange. not orangish brown, or copper or amber, but orange - the color of the fruit. if you wore this color deer hunting, you'd be legal.
Smell is hops - whole lot of different hop aromas - apricots and grapefruit, but some very bitter varieties also, all of them boisterous, fighting each other, making one big, spicy, fruity hop harmony.
Theres not a lot of flavor "balance" here. this beer is focused on hops. of course, that's not a bad thing. masala is spicy, but enjoyably mellow in the middle, fruity but not that sweet, sharp but smooth...pretty light on the malt flavors. very dry finish. no yeasty "earthiness," or really anything to compete with or take your attention from hops.
Not my favorite, but I understand why it may be yours.

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is incredible from the cask. The bartender told me that some patrons call ahead to make sure MM is available from the cask and not just in kegs. I rate either cask and keg about equal, but they are radically different.

The cask version pours with an extremely fine head, and a slightly lighter hop aroma than the keg version. The taste is remarkable - fruity hops with no CO2 bite. It's smooth and eminently drinkable, as it is served warmer than the keg version. A glass of each of the cask and the keg MM is a great lesson in the effect of the different treatment of the same beer.

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Photo of bwd110
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
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 SQNfan
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

Pours a perfect amber into my pint glass. Nice, creamy two-finger head that slowly recedes throughout the drink.
Smells of hops & pine. Slight citrus aroma as well.
Very tasty. Very well-balanced as well, I must say. Some pine, hops, malt, pineapple, what not. Moderate level of bitterness.
Crisp, fresh mouthfeel. Slightly dry, and in a good way.
Quite drinkable. I'll be finishing this growler, and then cabbing to a buddy's place who most likely has nothing but Coors light on hand. I'll be bringing a sixer of single-wide IPA along. And I'll share with anyone who asks.

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Photo of KingG
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade from jeffkrenner. Big thanks to him.

Appearance is very good. Large clumpy head forms off the aggressive pour with tons of lacing sticking to the glass. Glowing maroon/copper colored liquid with small amounts of sediment. For an IPA, this is a dark bastard.

Smell is good. Juicy citrus hops jump out and grab the nose. Pear, tangerine and ripe juicy plum. Nice.

Taste is very good. Once again, a large juicy hop profile with a lingering, grassy bitterness at the end. They blended the hops in this beer very well going with citrus and bittering creating a complex hop profile. Caramel malt is present but in the background, complementing the flavor nicely and yielding to the magnificent hop profile. Well done.

Mouthfeel is good. Slightly thin in the mouth due to below-average carbonation. However, the beer coats the tongue and cheeks nicely. Mouth-watering after every sip.

Drinkability is very good. If i had a keg of this, a few friends and i could easily put a nice dent in it.

Awesome IPA that has an addicting flavor. One of the better IPA's out there. Highly recommended.

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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 bkett01
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to LeonTrotsky for this growler.

Pours with a 1 inch off-white head. It appears a transparent golden copper color and doesn't seem to be very heavily carbonated. The smell is strong on hops with a hint of sweet malt behind it.
Tastes of raw hops that finishes crisp but dry. While the malt is here, this one is loaded with hops. It really lives up to it's ranking as one of the single best IPA's out there. Leaves traces of lacing along the glass as it goes down and is extremely drinkable. I envy those of you who have regular access to this gem of an IPA, and hope someday that they distribute to MA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Made a special trip to Town Hall Brewery upon visiting my future in-laws. This destination beer, the rest of their quality brews and excellent decor make for a truly epic brewpub experience.

Had on tap and on cask. This review is for the on tap version.

Nice appearance. A deep gold to amber beer with a crowning head of two fingers of white solid head. The foamage quickly dissipated and yielded to substantive lacing that marked the tracks of consumed beer.

The nose is immediately citrus. Grapefruit, grapefruit and more grapefruit come up to meet my sniffer and I begin to wonder if there's anything more there. But at a second inhale I get a hit of bready malt and instantly change my opinion on this beer from a hop bomb to a 90 Minute-esque malt forward IPA.

Lovely mouthfeel. The liquid has a delightfully small carb bite to it that lets you know you're drinking a carbonated beverage but also enough body to make you think its important. Truly delightful.

This is what 90 Minute should be. The substantial malt character of this brew is immediately evident with a bready backbone, it's almost overwhelming at first and could use a slight reduction. That said, the hop follow through is nearly as potent. Citrusy notes of grapefruit and even lemony vibes parade across the tongue and clear out the bread to remind you that you are in fact drinking an IPA. Stunning.

I can see the breadiness of this beer getting in the way of a long session but the hop oils aren't cloying and can be tolerated in heavy doses. The surprisingly low ABV on the brew makes for easy consumption as well.

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

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

Cloudy amber with a bit of head. Decent lacing.

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

Great mouthfeel. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of Reed415
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an amber color leaving a moderate lace as the head diminishes

S - Fruity Citrus hops in the nose

T - Fruity hops, grapefruit bitterness, and some pine on the palette

M - Medium Bodied with moderate carbonation

D - This beer is wonderful, It makes me happy to know that I have the rest of a growler left to enjoy.

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Photo of Dspohn
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A large part of the reason I initially joined BA almost 2 years ago was to find new and exciting IPAs, little did I know the great appreciation this site would give me for tons of beer styles and individual beers. When I first joined this site, Masala Mama was the #1 rated IPA. After learning it was only available at one brewery in the entire country I pretty resigned myself to never trying it, yet, here I am with a fresh growler sent from arvjunk to enjoy. Thanks again Ankur.

Pours an amber hue with slight haze topped with an thick beige head which left some spectacular spiderwebs of lacing all over my tulip. Really outstanding especially considering this is coming from a growler filled 1000 miles away.

This beer is quite balanced, not something I usually value being brought up on west coast hop explosions, but this beer is quite tasty. The smell is a little muted in comparison with the taste, but the overall presence is similar. A really well paired combination of truly sweet malts and bitter but not abrasive hops. A delicious and sweet well-balanced IPA, I wish this was more available since it seems like a great gateway beer that's not overly bitter. Notes of warm fresh caramel, earth and flowers, pine and citrus.

Mouthfeel is quite good, soft and creamy even after spending a week in a growler.

Quite a tasty beer, I'm glad I got to try it. Not my all-time favorite IPA, but it's hard to compare with most hop dominated IPAs from California. As far as well-balanced IPA's go, this is the best one I can remember having.

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Photo of McDiddyPop
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade with younger35. Thanks for hooking me up, Dan!

Poured from a growler into a Cigar City pint glass. This beer was a nice orange/ amber color with a bit of haze. It seemed to glow in my glass. A steady pour brought 2 fingers of dense, rocky foam that receded to an off-white cap, leaving sheets of impressive lace throughout the entire glass. Each sip left another ring. It smelled like fresh fresh fresh hops. A bit minty. Grassy. Mildly citric (think oranges and ruby red grapefruits). Very inviting. The taste was very well-balanced between minty and herbal hops followed by a sharp citrus bitterness in the finish. Malts don't have any chance to shine in this one, but the hops alone do this beer justice. Good carbonation and a dry finish made this a very drinkable brew. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of Macky20
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Kbutler1 for this growler... I appreciate it Kevin!
This was consumed a couple months ago, but I made good notes and really enjoyed it.

Poured from growler into pint glass. Aroma consists primarily of pine, but a great citrus aroma as well. Small amount of head, but with good consistancy. Beer is a dark tan in appearance with little transparency.

Big hop bite in this one, which I love. Just sweet enough with the malt, but a dry finish leaving a bitterness on the back of the tongue. The bitterness isn't bad, but it's very evident.

Thinner than I would have though, but then again... I did go through this growler a little fast :) Bold IPA, which I think is why I'm a fan.

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Photo of icemonkey908
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This has been on of my favorite beers for a while. My preferred serving type is definitely the cask. The beer appears golden yellow with a nice creamy head that remains as throughout the pint's duration. The smell is very hoppy -- hints of grapefruit, citrus, and pine. This is not a beer for someone who doesn't like hops. The taste closely follows the aroma but is nicely balanced with some malt flavors towards the finish. The cask conditioned variety exemplifies these qualities to a greater extent then keg variety and also provides a much smoother, richer texture. Without a doubt the best IPA I have sampled.

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Photo of HopasaurusRex
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden amber sunshine fades over a pineapple mango garlic forest. What mad scientist thought that citrus and garlic go together? Whoever he was, he was a genius. The captivating aroma gives way to a sensational dance of hoppiness on my tongue. I could drink pint after pint after pint of this.

Mad props to my BA buddy johnnnniee for breaking out this nectar on an ordinary Monday night.

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Photo of pepsican
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler, have had it on tap/cask as well. Pours amber with a thick white head. Strong pine hops in the aroma. Flavor has quite a bit of caramel up front, with some bitter pine hops in the background. A touch of citrus rounds it out. Finishes bitter, very bitter. This is definitely one for the bitter freaks. I could definitely use some more flavoring and aroma hops in the one, then it might be amazing.

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Photo of hoody711
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Gift from a buddy in Minneapolis when he came down last weekend. Brought me this and their altbier. Heard a lot about it, so pretty excited. First try - grossly underimpressed. However, I preceded that one with a Permanent Funeral, so it deserves a second, clean chance.

A - from the growler into a tulip. Head is slight, maybe a fingerbreadth, and settles quickly with minimal lacing. Almost no carbonation, but it is 3 days old. Color is a glorious blood orange. Good clarity.

S - a couple days ago all I got was caramel malts. Today I'm getting some nice tropical fruits with a constant sour apple backbone. Very, very interesting. Almost no malt, but it has been in the growler for 3 days. It's good though.

T - very good. Fresh, sour apple at the beginning that almost puckers you up. Then there comes the caramel malts that fade quickly and a huge bitterness massacres your tongue then goes away real quick. The aftertaste is there, but it's only a shadow of the main show.

M - although the bitterness fades quickly, it does leave a lasting coating on the tongue. Faint oilyness. Not sure I could have 3 or 4 of these, but definitely a second.

O - Seems like a good cross between heavy, malty DIPAs and some West Coast tropical fruit. The apple that has almost permeated this growler probably isn't there at the brewery and reflects unfairly on this one. Would love to try some fresh, but it was cool to see how this one changed over 3 days.

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Photo of bryanbrick
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
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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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 675 ratings.
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