Free beer! Get Blitzen at the Rock Bottom tonight

Donner may have been Rudolph's dad in the 1964 TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but Blitzen will be responsible for giving you a red nose when downtown's Rock Bottom Brewery taps its venerable holiday seasonal beer at 6 p.m. tonight.

Even better: Pints are free between 6 and 6:30 p.m. "Free beer. As many pints as they can suck down in a half an hour," says brewmaster John McClure.

After 6:30 p.m., pints will cost $5, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Parade of Lights, which takes place Friday and Saturday nights. The brewery will also be selling pint glasses with the Blitzen logo (those sales benefit the parade, too).

Rock Bottom, 1001 16th Street, has been brewing Blitzen, an English old-style ale, for eighteen years, says McClure, who has been the brewmaster there for eleven of those seasons. "It's a very malty beer. It's gone through some changes through the years. It used to be a Scottish ale. I changed it to an old ale and cut back on the hops."

McClure only made eight barrels of Blitzen this round, and it goes fast: So get there early, strap on some antlers and help Santa parade through Denver's cold nights.

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