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Last Updated 14 January 2010. Original story 17 June 2007.

The beers making Dixies famous

Dixies Kiosk - set inside Sliema's Independance Gardens is offering 4 Van Steenberge beers. They have the 5% Amber Ale called Bruegel, the 7% "abbey beer" Augustijn Blond and the 2 10.5% ales Piraat and Gulden Draak.

Dixies seating is all outside but with plenty of umberellas/sun shades. is is open daytime every day and in the evenings in summer. They also have an extensive menu of good value snacks and meals. So why not take a slight detour on your Tower Road stroll and rest your feet with a glass of Belgian Ale.

And since 2011 theres the new extension/alternative Dixies situated in the cellar below the kiosk. The entrance is on the side to sea side of the kiosk. Look out for special blackboard listing the Belgian beers by the door.

In the second half of the 16th century, Bruegel was the best painter of his time. Today Bruegel is arguably the best of Belgium's amber ales. Unlike some, Bruegel is a living beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle. Its full bodied flavour, refreshing after taste and aromatic head make the second bottle all the more inviting. Van Steenberge's Bruegel is also a great-tasting refreshing alternative to lager. The ideal drink to have with lunch. This beer combines well with all spices, from a hearty warm meat dish to a spicy salad. Amber beer used to be the daily beer of Northern Europe, drunk both with meals and to quench thirst.

Van Steenberge's Augustijn is a 'living' abbey beer that had been brewed by the Augustinian fathers of Gent since 1295. In 1982, the recipe for the beer was taken over and improved by Van Steenberge, who also took over the marketing and distribution. In return they pay a royalty on each bottle to the Augustinian Abbey in Gent. Augustijn has a hoppy flavour with a malty background. You may also detect a light fruity vanilla flavour. Augustijn Blond has an alcohol content of 7%.

The Augustijn bottle label features a monk which reminds the staff here of a local well loved fictional charactor called Fredu l-Fra (said fred-oo frar). So be brave and ask for a Fredu l-Fra.

Van Steenberge's Piraat is a 'living' beer - it continues to evolve during its secondary fermentation in the bottle. The flavour is so complex and so rich that every swallow conjures up new associations - the spicy light sweetness is richly balanced with the robust bitterness of the hops. Piraat is excellent with both meat and fish dishes, or can simply be enjoyed as a relaxing drink. It is an adventure of a beer, a treat.

Gulden Draak is a beer in a class of its own. It is a beer that is rich and glowing, so full of its very own characteristic flavour, that it reminds some who try it of chocolate and others of coffee. In 1998 Gulden Draak was crowned “best beer in the world” by the American Tasting Institute! This beer has won many other awards too. Gulden Draak is named for the golden statue at the top of the clock tower of the Belgian city of Gent. The statue was originally given to the city of Constantinople by the Norse King Sigrid Magnusson in 1111, during the crusades; hence the form of a Viking ship that the beast was given. During a later crusade, Boudewijn IX (Count of Flanders and Emperor of Constantinople) took it back to Flanders with him because it was so beautiful. In 1382, the cities of Brugge and Gent did battle for the statue. Gent won.