dsc016061As many times as I’ve been in to Minneapolis Town Hall to enjoy their fantastic Masala Mama IPA, I’ve never ventured beyond my safe zone to sample Masala’s distant cousin from southeast Asia, Mango Mama.

Usually when I hear fruit beer, I’m a little skeptical. I’ve been able to make some nice homebrews using fruit, like my raspberry imperial stout, but some commercial offerings I’ve had, such as Leinenkugel Berry Weiss or Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, hit the beer drinker in the face with what I can only assume are overdone extracts. Unnatural, typically overpowering, and often cloying. Mango Mama, however, lights the way for what a fruit beer should be.  

From my understanding, they put out a keg of Mango Mama on draught each Monday, and when it’s gone it’s gone. So if you’re a weekend warrior, odds are you’re going to miss it. The website also lists it as one of Town Hall’s seasonals. Which begs the question why a mango-infused IPA is around during the tail end of winter. Maybe it’s a year-round offering and they haven’t updated the site yet. Regardless, I didn’t spend much time pondering the seasonal logic of the beer, as I was quickly transfixed by what could be one of the only IPA’s around worthy of giving Masala Mama a run for its money.   

Poured with a beautiful amber coloring into a bowled glass featuring a big billowing head of tight bubbles. Very similar in the nose to Masala Mama with a burst of clean citrusy hops, followed up by a subtle hint of the mango. Enticing.

Tasting Mango Mama is a craft beer lover’s dream. I’m assuming the core recipe is the same as Masala Mama, except with this one they take it a step further and age the beer on a bed of mango fruit, helping to temper the bold hoppiness with some of the sweetness of the fruit. Very well done. No sticky hop resins or overly bitter notes. Just an extraordinarily drinkable and balanced beer that I’d venture to say may interest even the most ardent non-hoppy light beer drinker. I’m very impressed with their ability to retain much of the stylistic integrity of the IPA while augmenting it with a very unique ingredient.

Run out and get it, if you can.   

Rating: A-