The Craft Brewers Conference wraps up with an award for New Belgium

It's been quiet out there in the craft beer world this week -- primarily because most of the movers and shakers from around the country are in Washington, D.C. for the annual Craft Brewers Conference, and industry-only event hosted by the Brewers Association.

This year's version -- the thirtieth one -- brought 6,400 people who work for breweries, as well as their suppliers, distributors and the places that sell their beer.

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Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing, the third largest craft brewer in the nation, made a splash as company CEO Kim Jordan gave the keynote address and brewmaster Peter Bouckaert was given the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing.

He won for "implementing the biggest barrel-aging operation in the country," according to the Brewers Association. "Bouckaert makes all kinds of experimental beers, many of which are released under New Belgium's "Lips of Faith" series."

The company ages these beers in giant wooden casks called foeders, which are more typically used to age wine. New Belgium has more of them than any other brewer in the country. (Watch the video above to see how they are built.)

The award is given annually and is named for Russell Schehrer, who was one of the original founders and head brewer at Denver's Wynkoop Brewing.

In 2014, the Craft Brewers Conference will come to Denver from April 8-11; it will be held in conjunction with the World Beer Cup awards.



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