Beer Review: Maharaja Premium Indian Pilsner — “brewed with the technical expertise of Belgian brewers”

Maharaja’s Premium Indian Pilsner is a pretty straightforward and tasty imported brew with a somewhat-uncomfortably on-the-nose-stereotype picture of 19th-century Indian royalty on the front.  I’d place it in the realm of Beers That Are Really Ethnic Stereotype Jokes From The Simpsons (or, BTARESJFTS’s), almost as though the creators were 1950′s ad men trying to paint their product’s marketing image in very broad strokes for the rubes in Ohio who couldn’t identify India on a map.  Also included in this category is Skullsplitter (with the prototype viking on the front), Moretti’s (with the middle-aged handlebar-mustachioed Italian man recursively drinking Moretti’s) and Punchy McCatholic’s (the Irish beer that I just made up, because I can make fun of my own ethnicity, right?).

Naturally, I had to pick up a bottle — just weird enough for me to drink.  After popping off the cap, a dense wad of beer foam oozed up to say hello, at roughly the pace and shape of one of those black snake firecrackers that never fail to disappoint on the 4th of July.  “That’s odd”, I thought, making a mental note not to make a “happy to see me?” joke about it in my beer review, since that would be unoriginal and lame.

At first, it seemed strikingly sour, but it turned out this was because I had just consumed the World’s Sweetest Drink In The World (the “creamsicle”:  amaretto, triple sec, OJ, sour mix, tonic, and some dental fillings, because you’re going to need them), without adequately rebooting my palate.  After a sip or two, it turned out to be surprisingly good.  I was almost shocked — I saw a beer imported from India, picked it up expecting (even looking forward to) some serious skunkiness, but it tasted as fresh as an MGD.  Compared to some of the skunky disappointments I’ve gotten from other parts of the world (like half the stuff from Ireland), this was a definite pleasant surprise.  I guess there must be a lot more demand for Indian beers than Irish beers in my neighborhood.

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