Softball is an undisputed bar team sport. Volleyball, too -- you can't pass Fat Daddy's on a summer's night without hearing the ref's whistle blow and seeing sand kicked into the air. And bowling? Sure. We reigned as the sport's capital for a century.
These, along with a handful of others -- pool, darts, air hockey -- are bona fide bar games, respected and trusted among tavern owners and patrons.
But Brodie Callies wants to play beer pong, and he's not the only one. He's the co-founder of the College House Beer Pong League (CHBPL), made up of members who have played in the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas.
If you've never played nor watched a match in your college days, the premise of the game is as basic as it gets. Teams generally consist of two players standing at opposite ends of the playing field (usually a ping pong table, but ant long, hard surface will suffice). On each side of the table, teams assemble six, 10 or 15 plastic cups into triangles, with a convergence point focusing on the other team.
Each glass is one-third filled with beer and the idea is to land your team's ball into all of the other team's cups before they do the same to yours. When one team lands a ball, the other team has to drink the cup of beer.
Required skills? Nothing more than accurate aim and a tough tolerance for alcohol.
It's been extremely popular at house parties for decades but has since leapt out into the public forum. Now on its 12th season, CHBPL is gearing up in Walker's Point. Monkey Bar, 1619 S. 1st St., has a Wednesday night league that began Jan. 28 (new teams are still welcome) and a Sunday afternoon league that starts Feb. 7.
Callies says the league usually has between 16 and 24 teams with a six- to eight-week regular season that culminates, as many sports do, with playoffs. But things really get heated with the regular tournaments.
"We just ran one on the 24th at Steny's and had approximately 35 teams from four states playing, including one of the winners of the first World Series of Beer Pong and the founders / organizers of the World Series of Beer Pong," says Callies.
This is serious stuff. Prizes vary from beer pong tables to quarter barrels of beer to cold hard cash.
But if beer pong isn't your game, the Monkey Bar has other ways to help you stave off cabin fever here in the throes of winter. Its "flip-cup" league begins Tuesday, Feb. 3.
It borders on ridiculous, but, of course, there are players who take it very seriously, and it is that seriousness that turns the "flip cup" game from a binge-drinker's pastime into an organized competition.
You might want to start now if you plan on attending Beerfest on Saturday, Feb. 28 at The Bottle, 1753 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
"Beerfest is a charity event that I hold annually to benefit unfortunate individuals in time of need," says The Bottle owner Tony Wojtecki.
"Last year we raised $1,700 that went directly to a friend of mine, Larry Couch, who had a stroke but lacked insurance. This year we are raising money for another friend of mine, Scott Alpren, that had pneumonia and came within 12 hours of nurses pulling him off life support. He pulled out of it and went home just before Christmas after being in ICU for nearly three months. He also didn't have insurance."
Beerfest is a day of drinking and gaming beginning at 1 p.m. Four-person teams register for $100 to participate in games like quarters, beer pong, flip cup and "das boot." All the proceeds from the games, raffles and auctions benefit Scott Alpren.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”