From the office of the Vice President:
I can't help but look at the beer and wine section of any restaurant's menu, but you can't always expect to get a quality import beer from the country whose cuisine is represented by the American restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to see "Taj" listed on menu while enjoying a fine Indian meal at the Bombay Grill in Frederick, MD [see a map]. When the waiter brought the 22oz. bottle to the table, it was interesting. There was the Taj Mahal right on the label. Taj Mahal Premium Lager Beer it read. Product of India, and imported by a Californian company if I recall correctly. The beer was served nice and cold, and it had a nice golden color to it. Not much in the way of head, and when I tasted it, it didn't have too much in the way of flavor either. At 4.5%abv, it tasted like a fairly bland beer.
In my opinion, The Ferment Nation enjoys normal diplomatic relations with India, and all-in-all, I feel a certain affection for the nation. True story: a guy in India saved my ass (and my computer's ass) when I corrupted the Windows Explorer shell (I don't know how). I've also seen the movie Gandhi plenty of times (poor Ben Kingsley has been reduced to doing horrible sci-fi pics), and I love Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, so you can imagine I was a bit disappointed with this less than dramatic Indian beer. However, I got to thinking. Indian food can be spicey and filled with interesting flavors. And when you go to an Indian restaurant, you're going for the food not for anything else. So, was Taj Mahal Premium Lager a great beer? No. But did it provide a nice, cold, refreshing drink to wash down all that tasy Indian food? You bet your Lamb Vindaloo it did!
So, good beer is hard to come by, and a country like India has got to have their Miller, their Budweiser, their Coors, and I think this is pretty much what this was. Not a craft beer, but it got the job done, and when you have a tasty meal with good friends, the beer always tastes pretty darn good anyway.