Scaldis Peche Mel 8.5% blended peach lambic: golden, bright, a rich fermented peach character in there (peaches are largely about aroma; do a homemade peach wine, and you're lucky to get a good white wine that hints at best at peach flavor/character). A rich stone fruit character, fuller body and mouthfeel than most lighter beers here, but not cloyingly sweet or sappy.
Verhaeghe Echt Kriekenbier 5.5% "Cherry Ale"--okay, that sounds too much like a Canada Dry creation (this from someone whose childhood memories of the seashore include Canada Dry Wild Cherry Soda).....Bright, a decent cherry-soda red..... I apologize. A decent, if not powerful, semi-dry cherry character, still retaining a fruity essence in the flavor. If you want aggressive ale, this isn't it; if you want a fruit ale without it being so painfully a "chick beer," try this.
Jandrenouille IV 6.5% saison--ordered because it has "IV" in its name. Golden pils color, bright. Meh. very dry, tart/chalky finish. Another checkmark for the geeks, but little else.
Rodenbach 2008 6.0%: This is pretty much a classic. I need a current Rodenbach to compare, but this bright deep amber beer is pretty much a subtle classic--semi-dry but chock full of its own distinctive flavor......
....... and lo and behold, a friend walks past, dropping off half a sample glass of Rodenbach Red 5.2%, and deposits it for our comparison! (Thanks, Ed!) A touch lighter in color, a touch rougher and tarter. A spectacular overall beer in the classic sense, but one gets the sense that "classic" means "no singular distinguishing characteristic." According to the rep. this came from a single (albeit gigantic) wooden barrel at the brewery.
Steenbrugge Tripel 8.7%--thiis was a very late arrival, according to sales rep Devin Arlonski, who provided the sample--it arrived at the Port of Baltimore late Tuesday or early Wedneday, and was dragged out of the container to get to the festival. Bright golden tripel color, a very spicy and dry mouthfeel, think the tannins of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It's a bit maltier than other examples, but by all means, not the sweet and heavy character impressions some tripels leave the drinker with.