How Victory Brewing Company Prepared Me For Oktoberfest — a guest post

When one of our Victory Brewing Company restaurant regulars, Andy Pyle, told us that he was making his first trip to Munich for Oktoberfest we were both excited for him and envious of him.

I made the cliché comment asking him to fold me up and bring me along in his suitcase. And when that didn’t work, I suggested he take Victory along in spirit instead. That he did (and in wardrobe too).

Tom Nugent, Winni Hesel, Andy Pyle, and Iain Strachan at the gates of Oktoberfest

Here’s what Andy had to say about his Oktoberfest experience.

For the past 13 years I have been what you might call a “regular” at Victory Brewing Company. When my wife found our latest house, she advised that I would now have approximately an hour commute to work, but only a 5-minute drive to Victory. We bought the house that night.

I watched Victory change and grow just as I watch my own family do the same. I marvel at the people inside, hundreds all coming together for a common purpose — to enjoy the company of others and the latest beers from the great Victory brewmasters. As I sit in awe of the people around me, I always think that the flags hanging from the ceiling in the main bar area are a neat representation of something possibly bigger.

This past week I had these same feelings on a larger scale when I attended Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Upon entry into the festival tents I felt at home although miles away from Downingtown. Just like at my second home, Victory Brewing Company, thousands of people came together to break bread (pretzels), share experiences and drink beer (good beer). Music played throughout and white and blue Bavarian flags fluttered above.

Andy Pyle, Tom Nugent, Winni Hesel, Iain Strachan and Dave Kelly

My friends and I sat together for hours that passed like minutes. We laughed at jokes that we could not interpret but knew they were funny, and we bonded over friendships that will hopefully last for our lifetimes.

Just as my frequent visits to Victory prepared me for the camaraderie of Oktoberfest, my trip to Munich taught me lessons to bring back home.

  1. Welcome all strangers, as they will soon become your friends.
  2. There is no barrier that cannot be overcome with a bit of effort.
  3. Always look someone in the eye when drinking. It is a sign of respect and considered bad luck if you do not.

Dave Kelly, Iain Strachan, Winni Hesel, Tom Nugent and Andy Pyle

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Oktoberfest please take it. If not, I will see you at Victory and will share my experiences with you — by looking into your eyes, raising a glass and telling you the story of my journey.

Prost and Cheers!

- K.N.

2 Responses to How Victory Brewing Company Prepared Me For Oktoberfest — a guest post

  1. Matthew Lake October 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM #

    Awesome! I’ll have an adventure like that someday!!!! I miss all the Victory patrons and its wonderful beer. Octoberfest is a great time for beer everywhere!!!! I haven’t been to Victory since 2006 but I do recall seeing Andy there a bit because I lived on Jackson Ave. Right around the corner and I worked at Hibachi. I’m lucky to have Victory out here in Colorado and MANY good brews to choose from. I do retreat back to Hop Devil when needed. Happy travels Thanks. Peace.

  2. Bill Covaleski October 8, 2011 at 12:20 PM #

    Andy, thanks for contributing! Glad you had a great time and caught the spirit of what Oktoberfest is all about, good times with good people. Remind me to show you my photo from ’93 session with my class from Doemens Institute.

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European Tradition.


American Ingenuity.

The Victory Brewing Story

The story of Victory Brewing Company starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so, even as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts. Just months out of college, Bill’s appreciation of good beer and access to his father’s home brewing equipment inspired him to explore the hobby. That same year (1985), Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift. With that, both Bill and Ron developed their love of the craft…
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