Pennsylvania's autocratic liquor laws in action:
Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify, three teams of officers converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband, Brendan Hartranft. Checking their inventories against the state's official list of more than 2,800 brands, the cops seized four kegs and 317 bottles, totaling 60.9 gallons of beer, according to police calculations.
First, the state requires beer sellers to register their offerings by name by paying a $75 fee. There is nothing done to justify the registration; it only exists to raise revenue.
Second, more than half the beer seized by the State Police were actually on the approved list, but clerical errors and laziness on the part of the authorities meant is was confiscated anyway.
Third, the beers confiscated are sold all over town, and all over the state, but a complaint by an anonymous individual (read: well-connected competitor) resulted in this couple's three great bars being raided.
My response was to run right out and have dinner at Resurrection Ale House. I recommend you pick one of the three places and give them your business:
Resurrection Ale House, at 2425 Grays Ferry Ave.; Local 44, at 44th and Spruce streets, in West Philadelphia; and Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St., Port Richmond.