Quiz nights at Grist Brewing Co. in Highlands Ranch are high energy. The combination of a running club, a food truck and an average of eight to 10 teams racking their brains for the correct answers to trivia questions makes Wednesday nights at Grist beer tender Stephanie Owen’s favorite night to work.
“I was a quiz regular before I started working here on Wednesday nights,” Owen said. “I’m a huge random knowledge geek. I’ve got a lot of random useless knowledge.”
Grist has hosted a trivia night weekly since opening its doors three years ago. About six months ago, the brewery switched from hosting an independent trivia company to hosting Geeks who Drink.
Grist is one of 700 weekly Geeks Who Drink events in 41 states.
Geeks Who Drink launched in 2006 in Denver and has grown into the largest trivia company in the nation. The homegrown pub trivia quiz is modeled after those in Ireland and the U.K. and covers everything from celebrities in trouble to wordplay to bad television.
“We have relatively humble beginnings,” said Ken Brill, director of public relations and marketing for Geeks Who Drink. “We were founded simply because trivia in the area kind of stunk.”
Brill said what separates the Geeks from other trivia formats is the focus on social interaction.
“The thing that’s helped us the most is we take a light-hearted approach to trivia,” Brill said. “We like to think of ourselves more of an evening of entertainment rather than stumping players with hardest questions.”
Brill said that although the Geeks’ chief editor is a six-time “Jeopardy” champion, they aren’t looking to only attract people who take the “Jeopardy” entrance exam regularly.
“We’re looking for folks who want to have a good time and hang with friends,” Brill said. “We try to keep it as broad as possible to appeal to everyone on the team. We’re going to try to hit on every one area of expertise every night.”
This is one reason why trivia enthusiast Brian Harshman, 37, plays quiz nights at Caution Brewery in Lakewood regularly.
“We have a lot of fun and it’s nice and challenging,” said Harshman, who excels in the music category.
His quiz teammate, Jason Rhine, 32, said music is the only category he lacks knowledge in.
Rhine found quiz night while in college and has continued to play since.
“It’s a good balance of being able to talk and chill, but also have something to do while you’re here,” said Rhine, a Lakewood resident.
Caution is one of several Geeks Who Drink sites in the Denver metro area.
“One of our largest presence is concentrated here in Denver,” said Stefani Thomas, Colorado regional manager for Geeks Who Drink.
Thomas started as a quiz master with Geeks six years ago and transitioned into the full-time position two years ago.
She has hosted quizzes at almost 50 venues in Colorado, everywhere from Denver to the mountains and Colorado Springs. She regularly hosts at Denver Bicycle Cafe in Denver.
“I like the back and forth between the host and the quizzers,” Thomas said. “Once you have regulars coming to your quiz, you really have the opportunity to connect with them. You know things happening in their life and it becomes beyond just a person mechanically reading questions over the mic. Those people become your family and friends.”
One personal connection Thomas made was with a quizzer at Beau Jo’s in Denver. When that quizzer died of cancer, his family invited Thomas to host a tribute quiz at his wake.
“It was cool and unusual,” Thomas said. “We laughed and played quiz. If I ever had to have something like that planned for me, I’d hope it would as fun and a great gathering for people.”