Asia University is a medium-sized tertiary institution located in western Tokyo. It is about thirty minutes from Shinjuku Station via the Chuo Line. There are many noteworthy things about this school, and soon there will be another—Asia University Beer. Drinking Japan is involved in this project and will be uploading another entry when the beer has been released.
To some, it may sound strange for college students to be involved with beer, except in the Animal House (1978) sense, but it shouldn’t. For one thing, Waseda University came out with its own brews quite some time ago. Second, beer played a significant role in the early days of Harvard. Here is what Garrett Oliver, a man who knows more than a thing or two about beer, has to say about goings-on at that institution: “Harvard College, founded in 1636, was brewing beer for its students by 1639. Apparently the college didn’t brew enough—the first president of Harvard, Nathaniel Eaton, was dismissed in disgrace for failing to supply the students with enough beer. The college later solved that problem—Harvard’s first full-scale brewhouse was in operation by 1674.”1 Ah, those were the days, when an administrator could be fired for not delivering the goodies and a brewery was a stone’s throw from your study hall!
The Asia University Beer project is the brainchild of Professor Koichi Takaishi of the Department of Business Administration/Hospitality Management. A total of twenty-five students are involved, all either Business or Hospitality majors. They have carefully and lovingly cared for the hops plants (Cascade variety) growing on the Asia University campus and recently, along with this writer, harvested the cones that will go into the beer. The students are being assisted in their endeavor by the experts over at 26K Brewery, which is located a stone’s throw from the study hall, so to speak, but not on the Asia University campus. One style of beer will be produced—Fresh Hop Pale Ale.
1The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food by Garrett Oliver (Harper-Collins Publishers, 2003).
Photos courtesy of the Asia University Beer project.