Meet Janet Berkeley: Quiz Master at Freewheel Brewing Company

by Linda Hubbard on May 6, 2013

Freewheel Brewing Company,, owned by three Menlo Park residents and a UK-based partner, has not only brought English-style, cask-conditioned ale to the Peninsula, it’s also imported another bit of England, Liverpool-transplant Janet Berkeley, now on duty Monday nights as Quiz Master. We checked in with her to find out just what a Quiz Master does and what players could expect when Janet is firing the questions.

InMenlo: Tell us a little bit about what a quiz master does.

Janet: I make up quizzes that I give mostly at pubs and fundraisers. I pull my information from all over the place. It takes me about 10 hours to put a quiz together

InMenlo: What’s a typical quiz like?

Janet: Mine have about 75 questions. I ask the questions aloud and participants write down their answers.

I have the usual questions about history, sports, music, science, food, but I also try to have a few more esoteric things as well.  I usually start with 10 general knowledge questions, and then I have five slides of famous people, places, art. I like to throw out “anyone’s guess type questions” like “How long is the world’s longest tamale? Or “How many pennies did the dog in New York swallow?”

Freewheel trivia night winners

InMenlo: How is the competition structured?

Janet: Mostly people play on teams of four to six people. A few participants at the Brewery are taking the quiz as individuals — I think they are very brave!

InMenlo: What did you do professionally before becoming a Quiz Master?

Janet: I worked in public libraries for about 25 years before getting laid off. I’d been going to trivia competitions for about 14 years and have been  a quiz master for two years. I currently have about two gigs a week but hope to expand.

Triviolity is my new business. It took me 51 years of my life to do what I really love doing!

Photos by Irene Searles (including one Monday night’s winning team)

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