Beer lovers wait in line for coveted Russian River Brewing Company release

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - At 16th and Valencia in San Francisco there was a line of more than 100 people wrapped around the block. People came prepared to wait outside the Monk's Kettle Gastropub as early as 8 a.m.

"I brought in a chair and some snacks to pass the time," said Chris Brenton of San Francisco.

He and others in line were waiting for something so exclusive they could only get it once a year.

"It's the anticipation. You meet people in line with a similar idea, similar interest," said Sam Wegner of Santa Cruz.

They're not waiting in line to buy the latest gadget or to tour an apartment for an open house. Instead, the people outside Monks Kettle were waiting for a limited release beer, called Pliny the Younger. It's brewed by the Russian River Brewing Company in Guernville.

"It only comes out once a year. That's a big part of the draw," explained Monks Kettle owner, Christian Albertson.

"It's definitely worth the two hour wait," said Mercedes Krimma of San Francisco. "It's got really clean, bright hop flavors."

Frank Hsieh was in town from Boston for a business trip. He decided to go in late, after sampling the beer he'd heard his friends frequently praise.

"It sure beats going to work. Just don't tell my boss," he said.

Not everyone in line made the cut-off. Only the first 80 people were able to buy $10 tickets guaranteeing a glass of the brew. Customers were limited to two glasses.

Inside the bar, the beer was flowing and not before long their one and only Keg of Pliny was tapped out.

But for the owners of Monks Kettle, it wasn't just about the beer. Every glass of Pliny the Younger they sold was donated.

Albertson said they started the annual Pliny fundraiser a couple years ago: "We said to ourselves, alright, we've got this super coveted thing. What do we do with it?"

From the bar to the kitchen, Monk's Kettle donated all the money from their Pliny sales Wednesday to a San Francisco non-profit called "La Cocina," or, "The Kitchen."

The non-profit helps women start their own business in the food industry by providing space, equipment and business advice, including finance and marketing classes.

Mom and daughter, Guadalupe Guerrero and Brenda Juarez run a catering company, El Pipila.

El Pipila is the name of a monument in Guerrero's home town of Guanajuato, Mexico. Their catering business and future restaurant will focus on the cuisine of the region, which includes Sopes de Nopal (Cactus and red chile tortilla pouches) and Pozole Verde (Hominy soup with a mild green chile sauce).

Juarez said without La Cocina's help, "We wouldn't have known any of the things we know now."

They're now just one loan away from opening their first restaurant.

"I never thought I would be where I am today," Guerrero said, tearing up. Guerrero and Juarez have never heard of Pliny the Younger or Monk's Kettle, but they are as grateful for the help, as the beer lovers at Monk's Kettle were for the beverages.

Find information on how to donate to El Pipila's business loan fund here.