Sunday, November 30, 2008

Part 1 Of A Good Friday Night: Masala Mama IPA

In honor of my good friend Brian, aka The Baltimore Beer Guy, returning back to San Diego on one of his bi-(or tri)-annual trips from Maryland to California, I decided to arrange for us to be able to try what is the #1 ranked IPA on This would be the aforementioned Minneapolis Town Hall Brewing Company's Masala Mama IPA. The trader I acquired it from said that Town Hall purges their growlers with CO2 upon filling, so that's nice because this growler was filled on 11/20, got to me on 11/25, and was consumed 11/28. I like my IPA's as fresh as possible.

It was apparent this beer made the haul from Minnesota to California in good shape. It smelled and tasted really fresh. As you can see it pours a pretty clear but dark amber to brownish-orange in color with a really nice creamy head that can build up to as many fingers deep as you want. The smell is pretty pungent and the word "oil" keeps popping into my head. Probably somewhat citrusy as well. What really jumps out in the flavor is what I perceive to be a high alpha acid, somewhat harsh bitterness. There's a nice juiciness to it overall though. Pine without a doubt, but it ends with a somewhat harsh dry bitterness. I don't mind harshness in an IPA... sometimes I like a hoppy beer to hit ya hard, but this was kinda weird.

Reviewing well crafted beers is often like splitting hairs. This was a good beer. I would drink this beer a lot if it were on tap at a local establishment. But in relation to all my other favorite IPA's (Blind Pig, Stone, Alpine O'Brien's, Racer 5) it has a harshness to it that is kinda distracting. Pretty good overall though. I give it a 4.05/5, or A- on BeerAdvocate.

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