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

bottled 5/31/10
opened 6/12/2010

A-Brown/Amber, head forms fast stays for a short bit and is sticky on the sides of the glass
S- Hops, spices, citrus
T- Hops of course, a piny taste, the citrus is there but not over powering and lingers after
M- low-medium carbonation, very smooth
D- This is a great IPA, not to high on the ALC so you can buy a growler and enjoy it between 2-3 people.

(changed when I first wrote the review I used a small glass and did not get any head form, switched to a larger glass and received a larger head)

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

A - Slightly cloudy burnt orange / golden color with a quarter inch of thin head that does leave a fair bit of lacing for as little as there was of it.

S - Serious burst of fresh hoppy grapefruit and pine aromas. Smells like there's a handful of hops in my glass.

T - Big bitter grapefruit, with moderate to low malt character. Plenty of piney resiny goodness as well. Top notch. Only thing keeping this from a 5 is a hair more bitterness in the finish than I'd prefer.

M - Pretty full-bodied. Nice mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Nothing bad to say here.

D - Polished off the first pint pretty darn fast. It's going to be no problem finishing this growler.

Very nice IPA. Has the big body and complexity of something with a lot more alcohol, but in a good way (no hot alcohol flavors). If you're looking for huge fresh hop flavor, this is right up there with the best.

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Photo of axisjones
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler, a ruddy reddish orange. The color and clarity and quite captivating. I would paint my car this color if I had enough beer and money. A rocky white head bobs on top and the lacing is oh so pretty all the way down. This is a gorgeous beer, prom quality all the way. Hoptastic smell, bitter grapefruit and dirty flowers. For a standard IPA this is hopped the hell out. Unlike alot of IPAs, the bitterness is straight up and isnt as complex in the way or citric or piney flavors. The malt is initially kidnapped by the pure slam of the hops but makes a cameo in the end lending a faint biscuity flavor. Underline the faint. A bit on the unbalanced side in favor of raw hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is oily and slick, i can almost feel the hop residue's legs dripping down my inner cheeks. Perfect levels of carbonation.
Drinkable to the max, but the bitterness could really use more balance. A great IPA all around and quite the beaut. Thanks feloniousmonk for the growler, my friends aren't coming close to it.

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

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

A - The pour gave me 2 inches of puffy, frothy, dense foam. Reminded me of cumulonimbus clouds. This dissipated after a minute or two and I'm still left with a half inch of head. The color is of a beautiful amber hue.

S - There are plenty of citrus hops in this one, in fact, that's all I smell!

T - Tons of Grapefruit up front followed by sweet, bready malts in back. It didn't punch me in the taste buds as I thought it would. It was balanced really well.

M - Really gentle, not overtly assertive or anything. It felt...creamy upon my tongue, which was a nice refresher.

D - It would be entirely conceivable of me to finish an entire growler if I wanted to. Alas, I have friends over enjoying it as well!

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Photo of discovolante65
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
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 jcMPLS
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Masala Mama was my first ever IPA and my first craft brew that wasn't Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The first sip blew me away. I never knew what beer could be until that moment, and that one beer kickstarted my love for microbrews. I will always consider this a perfect beer.

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

Kingpin left me a growler of this on his last run through town. I've enjoyed this beer for over a year now, and each time I get my mitts on some, it's like the first time. What you get is a fantastic smelling pint, with gorgeous color and excellent body. Where this beer kicks serious butt is in the mouth though, with a strong attack of hops balanced just right with some nice malt, giving a brilliant start that explodes into a strong hop aftertaste that can last minutes. Masala Mama deserves its lofty ranking for being the most consistently amazing ale I've drunk.

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Photo of TonyBaloney
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

YUMMM! Got a growler of this from a friend. I looked pretty good in my English Pint glass, little darker than most IPAs I thought. The smell was a real wallop of hops, beautiful, floral-like bouquet. The taste was explosive, hops, then malts, then more hops and malts, followed by hop notes that lasted until my next chug several minutes later. Amazing. The carbonation level was just right, and the overall drinkability was smooth and flavorful. The growler disappeared WAY too fast, and I didn't feel any worse for wear, so highly recommended if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of dhchatfield
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first growler! Opened Thanksgiving Day minutes before 3:00PM. No one want's to share it with me (yesss!!). Received in trade Tuesday of this week. It has been calling my name ever since. Kept in the fridge and warmed for about 15 minutes. Poured into my Gavroche mini-tulip.

A - A beautiful bronze/amber. Quite clear with very little head. What head there is is long lasting with very nice lacing. Many streams of tiny bubbles. The only ding against this one is that I expected a firmer, fluffier head. Maybe the travel time has affected it? [edit] As the beer has warmed over the last 20 minutes, the head is much fuller, fluffier and larger. I think I served myself too cold at the first. 4.5 goes to a 5.

S - My sense of smell is somewhat numbed from the aromas of the holiday meal....Turkey pervades the house. Fruity mango/pineapple, but very subdued. The hop presence is hard to get to, but again the house is an olfactory obstacle course today.

T - Exceptional. Much sweeter at the start than I expected. A strong, creamy malt presence is soon overtaken by the hops. Overtaken so quietly that you hardly notice the transition. Very, very well-crafted. [edit] Again, as the beer has warmed the hops have moved to a much more prevalent position.

M - Again, outstanding. Creamy, soft, with very little of the "in your face" hops attack so many craft IPA's exhibit. I am stunned at the nuances this beer displays.

D - Oh yeah....I will have NO problem whatsoever enjoying every drop of this growler myself today. The relatively low ABV will keep me out of trouble at carving time. The sweetness of this beer makes me wish I were closer to the Twin Cities.

A fine beer. Very deserving of the rave reviews it has received. As referenced above, the complex nature and subtle presentation of the various components makes this one truly exceptional. Thank you very much Al, (feloniousmonk) for your generosity.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Photo of hiphopipa
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to mothman for this growler!

Poured into my beloved Sebago Brewing tulip.

A: Pours a clear medium copper with red/orange highlights.
S: Inviting aromatic piney hops with tropical and bigger caramel malt notes.
T: Complex and full flavored! Very nicely balanced hops and malts.
Tastes sweet and malty at first taste and then transitions to a nice dry bitter finish of dominant hop resin.
M: Smooth, creamy with soft carbonation and a sticky finish.
D: This is exactly what I was looking for and could drink it all day. Absolutely excellent & perfect example of a well thought out and balanced IPA. Very Victory Hop Devil-ish, I love it!

I'll be raving about this one for a long, long time. Nice pic Ben, right on point.

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Photo of calise1122
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Justin!

iTunes shuffle lands on John Coltrane - On Green Doplin Street, and away we go.

A rough pour yields a 50/50 split of body and head, the body looks amazing... not cloudy at all, somewhere between burnt orange and rusty red. Frothy off-white head slowly dissipates leaving thick cobwebs of lacing and crater like pockets on the surface. It looks great, but the smell... oh man, the smell is so sweet and strong. For some reason I am resisting the urge to dive in, and it hurts... it actually hurts as I hold myself back

Nose is firmly planted on the rim of the glass, letting the aroma of grapefruit, lemon, pineapple... yeah, lots of pineapple, tangerine, and other citric smells that remind me of a place I once was. This is what my perfect IPA would smell like. Minutes have passed, and gravity has caused this nose on the rim situation to turn uncomfortable... but what a smell...

As I tilt the glass for my first sip I notice that a clump of foam sliding up the glass... this isn't lacing, it's a pile of snow. Really cool

The flavor doesn't meet the expectations that the smell has set here. Not sure if it is to cold, or after the growler long trip thru snail mail caused the hops to thin a bit... but the smell set an almost unfair expectation. Now, all that said, it's a great tasting IPA... While the hops are DJing this party, the malt keeps trying to get a request in. Lots of lemon or grapefruit peel, and on the finish I am left bitter hops.

Mama is well carbonated, medium bodied and something I can drink easily. Really excited I finally got to try this, I shipped over a CL Imperial IPA in return and I think they are comparable... if I could take this smell with CL's taste, it may be my dream IPA.

I still can't get over how good this beer smells.

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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 steorn
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful hazy orange-amber with a full white head.Fresh,bright,full hop nose.This is the smell of I.P.A.
Take a sip...Full hop attack,citrus,resin,and oh so chewy nice.There is some malt to give balance but this ones all about the hops.Drink in hoppy happy swigs and the flavors bounce all over your head.It lingers and keeps you company if you can wait that long.Sadly some days I get blown away after a couple of these.Yes im proud to be a mamas boy.

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

I've held off on reviewing this for quite some time, as it's kind of my go-to trade bait. That being said, after picking up a growler for hockey tonight, I figured it's time.

And at this time, I still don't get it. It's a good IPA, but I'm not quite sure it's worth all the A's it gets. It has all the standard traits you look for in superior IPA's - nice citrus fruits and hop oil on the nose, a ton of grapefruit and grassy-ness for the taste, and a decent enough kick of hops on the front, middle, and finish.

But what the hell is with the after-taste? It's been the one thing that's always bugged me about Masala Mama, as I can't recall an IPA that lingers like this one does, and it's not in a good way. It reminds me of dated DFH 90 Minute IPA - it's just weird. I just can't get away from it, and it really confuses me.

Overall, like I said, it's a good IPA, but not worthy of all the adoration - which is a tough thing to write, as of all the Town Hall beers in my backyard, this is probably my least favorite.

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Photo of will4240
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
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 JeffreyG
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I had heard alot about this beer, but I hadn't been to Town Hall since my beer appreciation really got going. Expectations were high for this one and they were met and exceeded. Simply wow. This beer is amazing. The hazy orange color and the citrusy aroma are spot on. The flavor is very hoppy but with a pleasant malt balance. It's just damn enjoyable. Very tempted to give it all fives. I can't wait to have another.

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

Poured from a growler acquired from tavernjef, who is a great trader by the way!!

Appearance - Pours a brilliant copper/orange color with a big off white head. Head retention is quite good and there is significant lacing as well.

Smell - A huge piney hop aroma right off the bat. I picked up some grapefruit too with a bit of a bready malt too.

Taste - Again there is a big hop, graprfruit taste. All I can say is yummy!!

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with very good carbonation.

Drinkability - This is easily one of the best IPA's I have ever had. I am a HUGE IPA fan so this is why I gave drinkability a 5. Get ahold of this beer if you can. You won't be dissapointed.

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Photo of mykie73
3.24/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was looking forward to trying this. Thanks Ipafool for sharing your growler.

a) bubbly head that would not go away. Amberish pale color which seems like it will have a large malt backbone. Head looks great.

s) without a doubt the best part of this beer. tropic, floral, citris, pineapple. smells awesome.

t): and it falls apart here. It's not bad but I think it's much more of a pale ale than anything. I tasted some grapefruit and a lot of flowers. I imagine it would taste better with fresh hops as it has that floralness to it. finishes more sweet than dry (like stone) to my palate but there is indeed some lingering bitterness in the aftermath

m): carbonated,coated mouth adequately.

d) we had a growler with four people, but people did not want to drink more than one glass. It's sesionalbe and easy to drink...I was just more, for a lack of better term, bored with it. The growler was in good shape and only 4 days old....overall, the appeal of this beer is a mystery to me. Next time, I visit my sister, I'll have to try it on tap. Glad I tried it though. It was a great smelling beer.

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

Thanks to CaptainsChair!

Beautiful. Fragrant. Flawless hops bitterness. One of the best single IPAs I've ever had and one of the truly great session beers of all time. Not sure it deserves its lofty place on the Best of BA list-I reserve best beer in the world status for bigger *sskickers-but it is truly a great beer.

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Photo of CultureJamMN
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me begin by saying, I am not a hop-head. I generally find IPA's passable, and then only in summertime. That said, I couldnt stand this beer at all. And that's exactly why it's so good.

My review is based on what I know IPA to be, and while I may not like them, I know a good one when I drink one, and this is a VERY good one.

The color on this beer is sort of like a peach skin, darker than many IPA's. Nice head, retained well, and the lacing was fantastic.

The hops come screaming out in the nose, but there is a fruityness here, citrusy, but also of maybe peaches.

The taste is hoppy, very hoppy... with the citrus and peach coming on strong. There is a piney/juniper thing happening here too. There is some malt in the finish which is pleasing for this non-hophead.

As for mouthfeel, it was on the light side, but not thin. This would make a great summer beer for hopheads... seriously, if you love hops, and IPA's, find a way to drink this beer.

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

Had on tap at Town Hall Brewing. Nice white foamy head with good appearance in the glass. This has a perfectly subtle nose with nice hops presence. The mouthfeel on this never let's your down nor does the taste. Good mix of hops and fruit create a great balance in this beer. You can never go wrong with this beer.

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

After many trips to Town Hall I finally decide I will review this gem. I have gone to Town hall to pick up growlers for fellow BA's, and I always have a pint of this.
Pours a dark orangish amber with a creamy, resilient head that hangs around and sinks slightly in the middle as you drink, but it never fades.
Smells of the hop monster that at is...Orange, pine, spice...the bulletproof head oozes essence and smells that overwhelm the olfactories...oh man.
Taste is superb. Hops hops and more hops. Not real well balanced, in my opinion, but hey, you drink an IPA and you should expect an assault of bitterness. Still incredibly smooth.
This stuff is wicked drinkable. I can see myself sometime in the near future knocking back a BUNCH of these.
Since joining BeerAdvocate, I have looked at the top 100 list with a sense of pride that this beer that is local to me rates so high. Us Minnesotans are understandably biased, but try this stuff and you will agree that it is top 10 worthy.

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