Almost any night of the week, you can hit up all kinds of trivia in Greater Cincinnati — especially themed trivia nights. But Last Call Trivia and Trivia with a Twist, the city’s two main trivia companies, have been collaborating with breweries to bring pop-culture fans special theme nights beyond the ever-popular The Office, Friends and Parks and Recreation.
For instance, in early February, Swine City Brewing and Last Call hosted a John Hughes movie trivia night, replete with four new beers: a Pretty In Pink pink lemonade blonde ale, Breakfast Club breakfast stout, Flubber green apple cider and Weird Science grape berliner; Swine City offered the beers in pints and as a Brat Pack Flight.
“We thought the John Hughes trivia would be great for Valentine’s Day, and some of our favorite movies growing up were Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck and Home Alone,” says Swine co-owner Dan Ebben.
In December, he and his wife/brewery co-owner Debby hosted a Die Hard trilogy night, and on March 4 they hosted Harry Potter trivia with special beers, including butterbeer.
Brianna LeCompte, director of business development for Last Call, says the company focuses on general trivia nights, but theme nights are becoming more ubiquitous.
“When a venue reaches out, we provide them with a list of themes that are pre-approved by our writing team,” she says. “We view theme shows as an added bonus to help build awareness of the weekly general knowledge show. It’s a great way to introduce new players who don’t normally consider themselves ‘trivia people’ to the game.”
Trivia with a Twist — which puts on more than 150 trivia nights a month total in Cincinnati and Dayton — works in a similar fashion.
“We have a pretty good idea of what is cool with pop culture,” says Bill Marx, Trivia with a Twist’s regional account manager. “We listen to our venues and also listen to the people who are coming to our events and see what the new hot thing is.”
Right now, Disney+ and Disney music are the “hot things.” Trivia with a Twist recently did Disney+ trivia — covering Disney films, The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda, etc. — at Grainworks and BrewDog because people had demanded it. On Feb. 27, West Side Brewing will host Disney+ trivia; its Jan. 16 Disney music trivia drew 212 players.
Marx says not all requests gain momentum, though, and it depends on what the 24 to 45-year-old demographic wants.
“Eighties music is super popular in Beavercreek (a Dayton suburb) but doesn’t go over well in Over-the-Rhine,” he says.
Fans requested Shameless and Orange Is the New Black trivia, but neither of those attracted a crowd, at least not in the way holiday trivia did. Throughout November and December, West Side Brewing hosted A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation trivia, BrewDog and Little Miami Brewing hosted Elf trivia and Dogberry hosted Home Alone trivia. Last Call did Christmas Vacation trivia at HighGrain Brewing and general holiday trivia nights at different breweries, much to the same acclaim. And in October, Last Call and Rhinegeist partnered for a true crime-themed night. It was so popular it had to be split into two events — 300 players attended the first night.
It might seem like the two trivia companies are in competition with one another — they both cover some of the same movies and TV shows, but at different breweries — but LeCompte doesn’t view it as direct competition.
“I’d say our team feels more competitive with ourselves than anything,” she says. “Our writing team puts a ton of work into creating questions that fit our unique style and generate conversation among players, even if they don’t know the answer.” (Last Call puts on 100 nights of trivia a week in Cincinnati, and they also put on trivia throughout the Midwest and both coasts.)
For Trivia with Twist, upcoming brewery events include Seinfeld trivia March 25 at 16 Lots and Harry Potter trivia at West Side Brewing on March 26. Last Call Trivia has beer and alcohol trivia March 11 at Rhinegeist and Cincinnati Reds trivia night at Braxton on March 25.
Whatever trivia you decide to play, Marx says it’s all about “having a good time.” “We’ll give you two hours out of your week that you can go out, maybe win some prizes, (enjoy) beers, grab a bite to eat and have some fun with your friends.”