We were hit with two huge shots of news this week as a go-to brewery and a great cidery both announced they’ve sold significant stakes in their companies to large macro-brewing conglomerates. As expected, beer forums everywhere exploded with negative overreactions to the news, condemning the founders and swearing off buying the newest macro swill for eternity.

But is the world ending? Living in Chicago and seeing the many positives beer drinkers everywhere have gained since the Goose Island sale to AB – more BCBS and Sour Sisters, a beautiful taproom, a functional website – it’s hard to argue this sale thing can’t be done right. Having chatted with Tony Magee ourselves and heard his passion for the company he created, we’re eager to see where this recent trend leads the industry.

But aside from this week’s biggest stories, there was plenty of other news to distract us from work. In this week’s Hoplinks, armchair pundits react to “sellouts,” Chicago’s brewpub scene is about to explode, Oktoberfest is here, and we try to improve our tasting method. Let us know what else we missed during the past week in the comments!

PETALUMA, CA – Lagunitas, the sixth biggest craft brewery in the US as of last year, announced they’ve sold a 50 percent share in their company to Dutch brewery Heineken. Founder Tony Magee, says the deal will help them spread the Lagunitas brand across the global Heineken distribution network. [Chicagoist]

FENNVILLE, MI – Virtue Cider, one of the Midwest’s most successful cideries, announced they have sold a majority stake of their company to Anheuser-Busch InBev. Greg Hall, formally of Goose Island, and Stephen Schmakel looked for a new partner to address their increasing debt. Virtue will now move their bottling and packaging operations to Goose Island in Chicago. [mLive]

CHICAGO, IL – The brewpub scene in Chicago is about to get a whole lot more interesting in the near future. No less than

five brewing restaurants are set to open in the coming months, a huge boost to a surprisingly short list of brewpubs inside the city limits. [Chicago Reader]

AURORA, IL – Two Brothers is kicking off Fall with their version of Oktoberfest. Taking place at their Aurora Roundhouse location, the free event features food, music, games and the launch of Atom Smasher, their oak aged Oktoberfest style lager. [Two Brothers Facebook]

USA – What exactly does “horse blanket”, “resin” and “white peppercorns” smell like anyway? If you’re anything like us, we’ve been told our beers taste like this a hundred times but stuggle to pick it out of beer when we come across it again. The Beer Scholar offers some tips for becoming a better taster, something we can definitely get behind. [The Beer Scholar]

Photo by Melinda Jane Myers from our interview with Tony Magee at Lagunitas Chicago