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Northwest Passage - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

116 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 16.57%
Wants: 3
Gots: 8 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: edbeered on 04-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Crafts
1.75/5  rDev -50.8%

Crafts, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of mnstorm99
1.85/5  rDev -48%
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!!!

mnstorm99, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of caskstrength
1.93/5  rDev -45.8%
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)

caskstrength, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of mothman
2.03/5  rDev -43%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I had this on cask and thought I would like it better out of a bottle, but I was wrong.

Poured into a goblet/chalice.

Pours a small layer of white head. No lace left because of the small amount of head. Color is a golden orange.

Aroma: Tons of bready malt. Very slight amount of pine hops. Some orange flavors. Big let down on the nose.

Taste: Grassy hops with a ton of biscuit flavored malts. SOme caramel malts as well. Has an oily hops taste to it.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, with lots of carbonation. NW Passage has a medium body Ends with a weedy hop flavor in the aftertaste.

Overall, this was a terrible IPA. I try not to drainpour any beer, but the sink was thirsty. Event at $4 a bomber, I would not buy this one again. I enjoy having FE around and hoped for this to be good, but I really couldn't find anything I enjoyed about it.

mothman, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of JackieTH
2.15/5  rDev -39.6%
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.

JackieTH, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of dheldman
2.25/5  rDev -36.8%

dheldman, Nov 18, 2014
Photo of DeschutesFan
2.5/5  rDev -29.8%

DeschutesFan, Jul 31, 2012
Photo of ALifeWellWasted
2.5/5  rDev -29.8%

ALifeWellWasted, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of auro0006
2.58/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I've tasted a majority of Flat Earth's beers, this one being the most recent to taste.

It pours a straw-colored gold. Lighter than I would have expected for an IPA. The head is big and frothy.

Aromas are dominantly hoppy. Little else is sensed in the nose. Hop aromas are mostly citric and herbal.

The body is crisp, dry and bitter.

The first flavor to lap over the tongue is that of hop bitterness. Mostly citric, but also with an herbal note. There is little malt flavor, which would aid in a balance. I thought the hops came off as harsh.

auro0006, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of Tballz420
2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, darker-golden colored brew, lots o' little bubbles. Small white head but pretty sticky. Sweet maltiness with piney hop notes on the nose. Initial taste reminds me of an ESB for whatever reason, but its got the standard AIPA taste, under malted however. The hops are fine, but the botched malt affects the entire beer. Thinner bodied as a result, pretty wet. Something just aint right. I'm not of the mind that every IPA has to be a mega-hop monster that continually pushes the bounds. But this tastes like the grimey McPoyles that we saw at the summit brew tour snuck in, drilled a hole into the malt mixture, and guzzled it all down before they could add it to the brew.

I wouldn't be shocked if this was a bunk batch, but theres nothing telltale to suggest that.

Tballz420, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of morimech
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

morimech, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of BMos
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

BMos, Feb 18, 2014
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

t0rin0, Sep 27, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeOne
2.85/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

BuckeyeOne, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of Nugganooch
2.85/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

Nugganooch, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of doctormo
2.93/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

doctormo, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of ballz50401
2.93/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz. bottle (no freshness date) into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear golden color with a small head that doesn't last. Very little carbonation is present.

Smell: Hop aroma is mostly of the herbal/earthy variety. Some biscuit & cereal malts in there too. Not the most pleasent American IPA aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This has a weird combo of hop spice with some unusual herbal/earthy notes. Some toasty pilsner malts balance things up a bit. Body is light with a strong hop bitterness. I do like the palate punishment. It needs to be put in its place every now and then.

Drinkability: Ok...this looks, smells, tastes, and feels like what an India PBR would be if one was brewed. American IPA is my favorite style, but this one is not my cup of tea. I heard this being advertised as a West Coast style IPA because of the high IBU's, but it's not even close in my opinion.

ballz50401, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of BigAl18
3/5  rDev -15.7%

BigAl18, Oct 05, 2014
Photo of Loogs
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Loogs, Mar 23, 2014
Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -15.7%

smartassboiler, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of jenray
3/5  rDev -15.7%

jenray, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours an off-gold color with a centimeter or so of foam. The aroma is surprisingly malty. The northwest hops are detected with some floral and citrus notes. The earthy floral hops dominate the palate with very little malt to balance it.

This beer is rough around the edges. The bitter hops are all over the place. I would prefer something more refined and balanced.

BeardedBoffin, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of jsprain1
3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pale copper. Quite clear. Head is huge billowy light tan. Very rocky and billowy with great lacing.
S- The nose has some sugary fruit notes and a touch of pine. Lacking in power for an IPA.
T- There's more sugaryness to it than I would like. Piney hops with a touch of noble hop flavor comes through near the finish.
M- Carbonation is sharp, body is light.
O- It's ok, but it is nothing special, unfortunately.

jsprain1, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of gatornation
3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
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

gatornation, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

augustgarage, Jun 06, 2012
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Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.