How to Tell the Erin Express From the Craft Beer Express

A tale of the tape for two bar crawls coming up in Philadelphia.

A few years ago I was working on a Saturday. I left my office to grab some lunch when I saw a woman sprawled out on the plaza in front of the Comcast Center. Another woman sat on some nearby steps looking like she was about to puke. A guy was farther down on the plaza on all fours.

They were all dressed in green. It was St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t fall on a Saturday this year, but tomorrow is the second weekend of the Erin Express this year. The original and “official” Erin Express hits a variety of Irish bars in Center City, University City and Fairmount.

Because the people on the Erin Express tend to be in their early 20s, they can get loud, obnoxious and insanely drunk by the end of the day. Some people don’t like it. “The Erin Express is the Wing Bowl on wheels,” Joe Beddia tweeted. “A trip that originates in hell, comes through town then reports back to Satan,” Joe Murray tweeted. “Erin Express is today,” Chip Chantry tweeted during the first weekend of the event, “and the City of Philadelphia drops the ball by not getting the guillotine up in time.”

Honestly, I don’t think it’s that bad, but what do I know?

On April 9th, the Craft Beer Express sets off in Philadelphia. Because of its reputation as a more mature pub crawl, the Craft Beer Express doesn’t have any stigma attached to it. Searching “Craft Beer Express” on Twitter turns up nary a snarky tweet.

But perhaps you have some trouble differentiating the two. Never fear! I present to you a chart on how to tell the Craft Beer Express from the Erin Express. (I did a version of this for a since-defunct local site five years ago; it no longer exists online so I’m allowed to use the idea again!)

Erin ExpressCraft Beer Express
Organized byCavanaugh’s and Smokey Joe’s“A handful of Philly bar owners wanted to share their love of beer with people who appreciate a fine brew as much as they do”
TimeNoon to 5:30 pm11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Busesbuses are free and run every 15 minutesbuses run every 25 minutes; tickets are $10 in advance/$15 day-of
Best Bar on RouteBonner’s Irish Pub (120 South 23rd Street)The Institute (549 N. 12th Street)
Bar You’ve Probably Never Been ToLiberty Bar (2204 Market Street)Bourbon & Branch (702 N. 2nd Street)
Bar For Your Cool 21-Year-Old CousinSmokey Joe’s (208 S. 40th Street)City Tap House (2 Logan Square)
Special Attraction“Outdoor festival style party space” at Cavanaugh’s University CityHeadhouse Square Beer Garden
What You Expect Everyone to Drink…Guinness, JamesonSly Fox, Dogfish, Lagunitas
What Everyone Actually Drinks…Miller LiteSession beer (it’s a long day!)
Chances of seeing vomit?Over 100 percentMaybe if someone eats too much
Chances of green beer?Over 100 percentThankfully, pretty low
You Might Feel Old If You’re…2565
HeadgearFlat capsFedoras
Philly sports jerseyThrowback Brian Dawkins jerseyGreen Claude Giroux Flyers jersey
Pants?Shorts (c’mon, this is Philadelphia)Shorts (c’mon, this is Philadelphia)
Okay, okay — type of shortsAthleticCargo
FootwearNikeWhat are thoooooose?!”
Supposed type of serviceExpressExpress
Actual type of serviceLocalLocal

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