Hundreds of fans of sour beer braved an hours-long wait in freezing temperatures Saturday morning for a chance to sample the latest batch of Beatification beer from Russian River Brewing Company.

"It's probably one of the top three sours in the world," said Trever Staten of San Jose, who had been holding his place in line to reach the Fourth Street brewery since 6:30 a.m.

Released once a year, Beatification is "our spontaneously fermented beer, meaning that we add no yeast and allow the beer to naturally collect any wild yeast and bacteria in the air and barrels," according to the brewery's web page.

Brewery co-owner Natalie Cilurzo said the first people lined up at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, before all employees had left after their Friday night shifts.

The beer, available both in pints at the bar and in cases of 375ml bottles, was released at the Fourth Street location only, prompting hundreds to stand in line sipping coffee, waiting for a chance to drink beer.

Cilurzo said Beatification is rare, so it is a sought-after, highly tradeable beer. Cilurzo asked that people buying the beer not resell it.

She said the brewery made 1,200 cases this year and had sold 800 of them by 4 p.m.

Russian River Brewery has for years been a source of long lines for those seeking a taste of the limited edition Pliny the Younger. It will be released Feb. 7.