If this were April 1, I could have understood the announcement issued this morning from the St. Louis-based beer giant. Anheuser-Busch (aka InBev) has agreed to purchase Elysian, one of Seattle's oldest and well-respected breweries.
According to the release, Elysian's partners will remain with the brewery, including Dick Cantwell, one of the founding fathers of Seattle's beer scene. But this does mean that Elysian's brewing facility and brewpubs on Capitol Hill and in Tangletown, its stadium-side beer garden and fancy new downtown bar will all be property of the company that brought us Budweiser. What this means remains to be seen.
Though they might seem like odd bedfellows, this marrying of Elysian and AB is part of a larger trend of regional breweries joining up with the big guys. Think Goose Island in Chicago, or 10 Barrel down in Bend. Under optimal circumstances, these arrangements can bring more capital for local breweries, broader distribution, and more resources to get creative. Still, it's hard to not feel melancholy about this development. And suddenly this beer just got awkward.
UPDATE: I found this examination over at Washington Beer Blog to be quite illuminating.