I know Lindemans to be a treacly imitation of the wonderful lambics I love, but--well, it was only five bucks. The Saison Dupont, one of my top five faves in the world, was twice that. I counsidered Maudite, at $8, but ... eight percent's a lotta beer. So I palmed the peche ("peach") and decided to give it a whirl. It's been so long that I thought maybe I misrembered just how treacly Lindemans is.
I did not.
What's a fruit lambic supposed to taste like? Let's turn to Jackson:
[T]hese are beers, produced from grain, with fruit added as a further fermentable material or flavoring. The best of Belgium's artisan-made, lambic-based whole-fruit ... beers have a great complexity and delicacy, and are dry. They are the beer world's elegant response to pink champagne, and make a pretty, unusual and appetizing drink with which to welcome guests at a summer party. [itals mine]Fruit lambics may emphasize either the dry, sherry-like aspect or the sour wild-yeast aspect, but they should never be sweet. In a good lambic, the fruit's sugars will be wholly consumed, leaving the nose and color and the flavor of the fruit, like the essence you find in unsweetened fruit seltzers. I have had lambics that smelled intensely of freshly-picked fruit but had almost no flavor. In others, the fruit comes through on the palate, but runs up against the sour before it can ever take you to sweetness. Many are dry and perfect refreshers.
Lindemans is peach soda. It is syrupy sweet, a single-noted beer that is scandalously absent of sour. There is a cola in India named Thums Up (in India, "th" is aspirated, so you say 'Tums up"), which ranks as the sweetest beverage ever made; you expect the sugar to recrystalize on your tongue as you drink it. Lindemans is sweet in a different way, like the syrup that comes in canned fruit, but no more pleasant.
In the end, I learned a valuable lesson: spend not your five bones on a crappy beer lest ye waste it; instead, double down and get the transcendent Dupont. When will I learn?