Northwest Passage - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

125 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 125
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 16.01%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: edbeered on 04-02-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 125 | Reviews: 55
Reviews by mnstorm99:
Photo of mnstorm99
1.89/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Hmm, had this on tap a while back and was quite unimpressed, but now that they bottle it I thought I would take it home and give it a review.
The apperance is a nice clear golden color, with a small white head that just leaves a dusting on top of the brew. Unfortunately I don't see any lacing and you can tell almost from the view this may be a bit unbalanced.
Aroma leaves ALOT to be desired in an IPA. I really was trying to find the proper nose on this beer, and although there are hops in there it is actually hard to find for an IPA.
Taste, it is a good bitter (not hoppy) beer, but I could use a bit of balance with the malt, and some hops in the flavor, not just bitterness.
Mouthfeel is pretty nice, I would think this beer was thin, but it isn't. There is a nice smooth texture to it.
Drinkability on this one is tough since it is so bitter and unbalanced.
I feel FE really wanted to make the midwest's hoppiest beer, but this isn't hoppy. I have had 60 IBU beers that have much more notice from the hops as this one does. I am quite disappointed as I was really hoping that a Minnesota brewery could make a true IPA, which this may be, but it isn't for me.
Edit...I really tried, but I cannot finish this beer!!!

More User Reviews:
Photo of bsp77
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from growler into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear, bright gold with thin head but nice lacing.

Smell: Mostly citrus and some pine. Smells very bitter and dry.

Taste: Very slight sweetness in the beginning, but the hops quickly reign supreme. Citrus, grapefruit, pine and spice noted. Very bitter finish.

Feel: Low carbonation, medium body, pretty smooth, and exceedingly dry.

Drinkability: Very refreshing, but also too bitter with enough taste to back it up.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: orange tinted amber, 1” rocky head
S: bread nose, resiny hops
T: Attacks with malt and fruit giving way to a big bracing citrusy hop bitter finale.
F: Very creamy, refreshing, medium body and carbonation.
O: A big, bitter hop driven IPA.

Photo of MattyG85
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a tint of orange and lots of rising bubbles. Mild pour gives a huge four finger head that has good retention and lacing.

Smell: Big aroma of citrus and floral hops with grapefruit, orange, and lemon with some herbal pine. This is backed with a solid base of bready caramel malts.

Taste: A mild sweetness from the citrus fruit hops up front is mixed with a decent amount of piney hop bitterness. This is backed up by a good amount of caramel malts and a little more bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a higher amount of carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall: A solid version of an IPA from Flat Earth. Solid mixture of grapefruit sweetness and bitterness.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a standard clear pint glass.

Appearance: Clear deep golden color, almost amber. Nice two finger white foamy head. Left layered lacing as it slowly receded. Left a good half finger white frothy head throughout. Nice.

Smell: Sweet and floral Citrus and Pine hops up front, with just a hint of malt beneath it.

Taste: At 115 IBU's, this one delivers on the hops bite right up front. Citrus and pine hops with a high bitterness factor that gives way to a smooth and not-so-bitter finish. Quite a feat for a beer this high on the IBU meter. Really clean and refreshing taste, with loads of hops up front to make even the biggest hop-heads out there satisfied. A really good IPA that tastes more like a Double IPA to me.

Mouth feel: Light-to-medium body with a good crisp carbonation to match the hops bite up front.

Drinkability: This is by far my favorite Flat Earth beer so far. Really great hops bitterness and flavor. Tastes more like a Double or Imperial IPA than a standard American IPA...and that's a good thing for a hop-head like me!

Photo of augustgarage
3.17/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Clear amber body, off-white collar and peninsular surface slick. Vague lacing, poor retention.

Sweet honey aroma with cotton candy and orange zest notes as well.

Dark toasted malt and low bitterness on the palate. Faintly spicy hops add a touch of citrus and forest floor leading into an earthy river bottom finish.

Light bodied, average carbonation, slick mouth-feel.

Muddled collection of NW-style hops tossed in as a gimmick. The malt bill is more interesting, but can't make up for the stylistic poverty.

Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, Heritage Liquor in St. Paul, $4.29

appearance: cool label - served in a tyranena pint...very clear straw-golden body, light white foam head with minimal retention

smell: pretty light on the nose - hop bitterness in the distance, some grain and bready notes

taste: was kind of blindly excited to try this beer - maybe i just think the brewery and beer names are intriguing or something...This IPA isn't very balanced, and not in a positive way. There is certainly a bitter bite but there is not really any depth or complexity to the hops at all. The base of the beer is grain and bready and the two do not contrast well at all.

mouthfeel: lingering bitterness, light and crisp

drinkability: just ok

Photo of tempest
3.86/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber from Princeton's Liquors for $4. I can understand why some would know this beer, but I'm a fan. The problem is the lack of aroma, this sucker could use some good dry-hopping. It's just too weak. The flavor, however, has a lovely mix of dry, toasty, nutty toffee malts, with orange rind, grapefruit, and spicy apricot hops. I think I detect a little diacetyl, but it just adds a bit of British character to the IPA. I like the dry body and medium weight to the mouthfeel. I'd be happy to drink a couple pints any time.

Photo of plfahey
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Grumpy's in Roseville.

Appearance-Deep piss yellow and clear. Persistant crop of white foam with good retention and some very nice lacing.

Aroma-Juicy American hop bouquet-super fruity with notes of lemon, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, and mango, as well as some herbal, piney notes. Hops are supported by a solid pale malt base-bready with hints of biscuits and caramel.

Flavor-Hop flavors are much less fruity, with high notes of pine and resin. Hop bitterness is moderately high, but much lower than I expected at the purported 115 IBUs. Hops are supported by biscuity pale malt. Long finish is bitter and dry, with resiny green hop flavor carrying on forever.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderate to moderately high carbonation. No astringency from high hop rates.

Exceptionally smooth for high IBU levels. Very good, easy drinking, and well balanced. I could drink a fair amount of this.

Photo of BuckeyeOne
2.87/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Stub & Herb's. Served in a standard pint glass.

Poured a slight amber golden color with a small head that left only the remnants of lacing down the glass. The color did not bode well for what comes next. Was expecting an IPA with NW hops and 6.5% ABV to be a richer amber, copper color. This looked just slightly darker than a pils.

The nose was sweet malt followed by earthy and grassy hops. Just the hint of lemon and orange rind.

The flavor was all floral and herbal hops with a tiny malt backbone of grains and breads.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin with a very bitter and dry finish. Left wanting more hop resin and oils.

I will not drink another one beyond this one.

Photo of morimech
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pale yellow color with one finger of head that does have decent retention. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. The color reminds me of a pils. I smell a lot of grassy and herbal elements coming from the hop bill of Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus. No aroma coming from the malt. The flavor, not surprisingly, is extremely bitter with strong herbal qualities. Bitter aftertaste. Very one dimensional. I am a fan of herbal hops but not in this concentration. Dry malt charactor if that is what I am actually tasting. Hard to tell after a few sips. The body is ok with a nice carbonation. Just not big enough to carry the bitterness. If someone just wanted to taste hops, this is your beer. Not dynamic enough to interest me past this one bomber.

Photo of doctormo
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have had a bomber and a growler from the brewery this week. My notes are from the growler since there was more to taste and a bit better than the bomber.

A- Looks absolutely fine, nice copper color, looks like many beers. The growler has too much carbonation which yields a monster head if not poured carefully.

S- The hops are evident in the smell but not overpowering. Nothing seems wrong by the smell.

T- The major drawback of NWP is the extreme bitter taste. Instead of the hop grapefruit flavor, we get the peel here. Just like chewing on a peel of some citrus fruit. If this is your preference, it is a great beer, if not, you will not be able to finish a bottle.

M- The astringent taste puckers the mouth quite quickly. If you like this feeling, go for it.

D- A couple of glasses is all I can take at a sitting. You get used to the bitter taste after a while but I just don't want to drink too much of it knowing that that there are better IPA's in the fridge.

I had such high hopes for this beer, a bomber and a growler was my first shot a it. I should have had a sample at the brewery but I expected it would be great and only sampled other beer. Live and learn.

More importantly, if you are trying to show people the benefits of craft beer, do not use this as an example. It is only for those with a strong tongue, the rest will be disappointed.

Flat Earth is doing good things and I will visit again regardless of one beer who's style is not to my liking.

Photo of yamar68
3.31/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark gold with consistent beading and two full fingers of thick dollops of slightly off-white head. Nose has grassy hops, some floral notes, some piney bits - not much in the way of anything citrus or fruity. The taste is pretty earthy, herbal. The bitterness is muddied up in there. Not my favorite offering from Flat Earth.

Photo of edbeered
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's always nice to introduce a new beer to the BA community, and especially nice if it's a keeper, like this one is. Served on tap at the 2nd anniversary party for Flat Earth Brewery at the Muddy Pig in St Paul, it apprears a clear amber color, with a frothy white head and ample white lacing lining the glass. The smell is faintly of hops. The taste is in-your-face hops with a mild malty flavor for balance. The hops taste is of the earthy variety with a faint whiff of pine. What's especially appealing is that this tastes completely different from the dominant IPA in this market(Surly Furious), yet stands up well against it. One can follow one with the other and truly appreciate the variety of flavors available to a great IPA. The carbonation is about right(it has been an issue with Flat Earth beers)and the mouthfeel is almost tart. This is a terrific American IPA and may be the best yet beer from Flat Earth. Right now it's only available on tap or in growlers. Hopefully they'll bottle it soon.

Photo of oline73
3.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a finger of fluffy white head that fades to a layer on top of the pour.

Smell: This beer has more malt up front than I would have expected. Some sweet caramel malt with a citrus hop bitterness in the background.

Taste: Not as sweet as the smell suggested, but just enough malt to back up the hops. Citrus peel bitterness with some sweetness in the background. Not too complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly, fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Not a bad IPA. There isn't a whole lot going on, but I still enjoyed it.

Photo of happygnome
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear golden color with definate orange hues. There is about a quarter inch of head that disappears quickly leaving a good amount of lacing around the edge of the glass and top of the beer. Carbonation can be seen rising to the top.

S: Strongly hopped beer, not much malt sweetness to balance but it is such a nice grapefruit and citrus hop bitterness aroma.

T: Unlike the aroma, there is a little sweet maltiness. There is not much balance but this is such a nicely bittered beer.

M: medium bodied beer with good carbonation

overall, this is a great beer

Photo of gatornation
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a clear peach color with a 1 finger head that dissipates but does leave a nice ring and lacing..smell is grapefruit rind hops caramelized malts but mostly hops..taste is the same huge hop presence on the bitter side..malts try to stabilize this but they fail .this is all hops and bitter at that..mouth feel is 1 dimensional.its not balanced very well..and its very crisp..to me it taste like an english india pale ale ..im mixed on this one..had no trouble finishing the bomber but i wanted more balance and flavor from this..not overly impressed..will try another bomber, but there are so many ipas to choose from and this one will not be on my list..it just not a good ipa

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at Stub and Herb's.

Pours a moderate golden-orange color with a white head and a pretty god amount of clingy lacing. The nose is quite pungent with a load of citrus and pine hops. The taste reigns in the hop flavor a bit in favor of bitterness, and also adds in a slight amount of malt. Feel is quite bitter and, given that, this still drinks quite well.

Photo of caskstrength
1.97/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Good to see another local attempt at an IPA. If it's good, more fresh beer available, in a style where that really matters.

let's give it a go...

Looks good, IPA golden yellow, clear, no sediment. Smells are underwhelming, for sure. Simple, maybe some bready notes? Almost an adjunct brew, to be honest, to my nose. No rich, deep citrus/pine/malt at all.

Taste is weak and superficial, until the aftertaste when it morphs to awful with a harsh and bitter finish. A simplistic attempt at being "hoppy", I guess.

This beer has no complexity, no richness, no juiciness, no depth.

A complete letdown, and a brewing misfire. How did this one get out of the testing stage?

Drainpour for both me and my wife. (Her favorite beer is Furious, so she knows a good IPA)

Photo of Nugganooch
2.88/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes from 09/22/11
*Bomber to pint

A: Pours a dull brassy pale color with a soapy one finger head. Fizzin' out some sparce lace.

S: Smells of sweet bready malts and has a sort of spice hop spiked nose. Honey grahams.

T: More bready with a honey sweetness. Slight citrus/pine hop flavs but pale malts really dominate. Touch of a spicy clove like flavor that I would almost expect with a Belgian yeast. Slight metallic aftertaste.

M: Lighter body with a bit of a creamy mouthcoat and a nice refreshing crisp finish.

D: Refreshing and light but bit run of the mill for me in regards to flavors.
Overall a honey-bread and clove spice combo lacking in the hops.

Photo of PerHops
4.32/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Kind of a watered down dark copper color, if that makes any sense. Nice head retention.

S- Very interesting smell, much like furious, but with a spicy note to it.

T- Very good flavor. Starts off with slight citrus and pine, moves into a biscuity spicy flavor and finishes very bitter if a little bit sweet with citrus notes. Fantastic. I actually put this up with some of my favorite IPAs.

M- Very good level of carbonation and a great drinkability.

O- I liked this beer much better this time around. Good job fellas.

Photo of JackieTH
2.18/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Flat Earth seems to offer their various bombers at a reasonable price around here, so I picked one up for a random sample.

A mild pour resulted in a mountain of head that took a good 4-5 minutes to subside until there was any possibility of drinking. Color was light golden yellow. Smell was slightly resinous and a bit bready, okay I guess, but very mild. Taste was weakly malty, watery and yet bitter, but not bitter in a flavorful sort of way.

I drank the 1/4 of a glass of liquid that accumulated from the 4" of foam. Then made another attempt to drink a bit more, but it just wasn't good, or worth it. Drainpoured. There was some sedimentation on the bottom of the bottle. Perhaps a bad bottle. No freshness date that I can see.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.42/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear bronze color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of fresh grapefruit, mandarin oranges, pine resin, and more grapefruit. The taste is similar to the aroma with a strong bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a very good beer that I will surely drink again.

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a one-finger, white head of foam. The head was short-lived and left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of tropical fruits - mostly grapefruit and orange. Nice caramel aroma in the background.

T - It tasted quite spicy with a sharp hop bite. Fruity and sweet with some burnt toast malt.

M - Crisp and fairly sharp. A medium bodied ale that has a nice dry finish.

D - This is another good brew from the folks at Flat Earth. Well done.

Photo of garymuchow
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into my very large Old Style glass (something like 26 oz glass).
Seems like classic old style hops as the aroma reminds me a lot of the early IPA's I used to make in the 90's. Sometimes sharp and biting, along with a grassiness, that evolves to a sweetness, fruitiness with citrus. Pale malt base. Evolves nicely.
Kinda' cloudy. Opened with a sharp pop and poured with large head. Lots of sticky lacing.
Bitterness is pretty sharp. There are a variety of flavors going on in here, some real tasty, some standard and some I'm not so sure about. It again reminds me of some old home brew I did while extract brewing (and I wasn't that good). Seems like some off flavor or staleness on the hops. I like some of the malt flavor. Touch of sweetness and a solid good base. Very long finish of a mixed bitterness of grapefruit, in part.
Body is moderate with appropriate carbonation.
In sum, despite some good qualities, it's a rather average beer. Worth trying, but not much more than that.

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Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 125 ratings.