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Northwest Passage - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage

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

54 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 134
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 24.51%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 134
Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tangerine orange that would probably be some shade of gold if sunshine was used as a backlight rather than my computer monitor. Three fingers of eggshell colored froth hang on acceptably well... and do a pretty good job festooning the pint glass with lace.

If you're a fan of citrus zesty American hops, then you'll probably be a fan of this nose. The responsible parties include Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Columbus. There isn't a huge Simcoe presence, but there's enough to get the job done.

Like most of what FEBC brews, Northwest Passage is solid all the way around and right through the middle. It isn't exactly meagerly malted, but the little green cones have pretty much total control throughout each mouthful. 115 IBUs when fresh is easy to imagine.

The malts have a slight toasted-earthy edge, which doesn't get in the way of the lupulin love. Whatever sweetness might have been present is buried beneath an avalanche of CCSC hop bitterness and grapefruit pithy flavor. Even though NP is borderline one-trick-pony beer, it's tasty borderline one-trick-pony beer.

The mouthfeel is right on the money and is textbook for the style in all ways that matter. Warming brings smoother edges and a lovely silky creaminess enlivened by lightly tongue stinging bubbles.

Hopheads are sure to be pleased with Flat Earth Brewing's latest bottled offering. Even though Northwest Passage IPA can't touch some of the Surly brews for Minnesota craft beer dominance, it's still a more than worthy purchase in its own right. Thanks to the felonious one for the bomber.

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Photo of oline73
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of mothman
2/5  rDev -43.7%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, golden-hued, edging on tangerine in tone. Nice 1/4 " cap of rocky, snowy white foam.

Aroma: sweetness, then bitter, loads of citrus, very pithy grapefruit, orange, lemon, and pickled prickly pine, in there, too.
Quite nice.

On the tongue, a blitz of bitterness, a blast of buoyant fruit, bouncing on the palate, swimming in the mouth, but overall well-behaved...if needing more malt sweetness to tie it together. Says the guy who loves a great big double IPA. But this isn't one. Or is it. We're told it's 115 IBUs. No argument, it's terrifically bitter, and yet, only 6.5%.
Here's a tasty IPA you can drink, if you have a great tolerance/taste for hoppiness, ...but may grow weary of, if you need more comfort that malt brings. Especially if you plan to have more than one. That's my worry, that this is a one and done kind of IPA.

I like this one, and I'm glad FE's first IPA is so solid, but it'd be great to have one a bit more balanced. Something with this hop profile, yet more malt backbone could be a viable alternative to Furious, or any other local IPAs. What local IPAs?
My point.

i will continue to enjoy this!

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Photo of tempest
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Clear, straw golden-orange color with a fluffy white head and minimal lacing. Aroma is dry, piney and resiny. Creamy, medium thick body with light carbonation. Flavor is very bitter and resiny, dominated by herbal and pine hops. Strong biscuit malt body and grainy flavors. Reminds me more of an overhopped APA than a west coast IPA; not as bad as some of the reviews have made it out, but not very good either.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden body. Thin bubbly off white head. Lacing is sporadic. Aroma is resiny and cannabis like. For 115 IBU, this is not as scathing as I thought it would be...and that's a good thing. The bitterness is a little jagged, but that's good. Malt base is biscuity and bready. Hop flavors are nice and grundgey. Oily. And resiny. Some orange rind in there. And lemon. Bitterness hangs on nicely. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated, this beer brings a nice overall experience.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
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

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Photo of ccrida
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a Schell's shaker pint, Northwest Passage is gold with a thin white head leaving some nice lace.

Smell is pungently hoppy, resinous, cat pee. Sweet grains as it warms.

Taste is all hops, with minimal malt, exactly how I like my IPAs, dank and robust, without undue alcohol, very bitter though. Perhaps a bit too grassy, compost.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium light bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, a clean, well hopped IPA, all hops with just a bit of sweetness from the grains, just to bitter for my taste to be great, a bit stale perhaps (bought from a cooler in a Minneapolis bottle shop), I grew less enthused as I worked through it.

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Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very reasonably priced bomber picked up at Four Firkins outside Minneapolis.

Pours sunshiney orange, lightly hazy with a nice white head.

Smells a little hop heavy, but everything is interesting and pleasant. Fruit, citrus, biscuits, and caramel. Tastes like the aforementioned aromas, only now they're flavors. Also they're a bit more balanced. Starts out with green hops, moving into light grapefruit and orange, then it gets nicely bitter and peaty, ending on caramel bread with little pengs of roasted malt.

Smells and tastes like and old-school, straight up West Coast IPA. This is how they tasted way back in the day (06ish), before they cost so much that it's now impossible to find a fresh one because they've all been sitting on the shelves so long. It's--call me crazy, but it's almost as if making your beer slightly more affordable helps out the craft beer community. No?

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Photo of tavernjef
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very clear medium golden peachy tinted hue with an overtly large, unescapeable foam explosion that grows with a supply and demand beyond the production of the liquid. Finally it settles to huge half inch dull white thick, fluffy foam. Minimal lacing in a few spots and stumpy strings.

Aroma is mostly cardboardish meshed with a high pine lemony citrus and dry balsalm fir.

Taste is crisp and easy going with a mild tone of hops and malts. Cereal grains, biscuity edgyness, toasted sweet oat and crystal malt sweetness carries a under side with a delicate smooth touch. Letting in just the right amount of hops to buzz about with some squeezed in pithy bitterness from lemon and white grapefruit. Light dusty pine airs within the finish. A Hop bomb it ain't, but does render a decent play of bitterness.

Clean and mild, lighter medium body that grows in radius as it goes with a bit more strength once it reaches the finish and after the first few intial sips. But its mostly bitterness then malt, and not really placed on a scale of hop complexity.

A simple going, smooth drinking IPA with a bit of complex craft to it; that to me seems to lean more towards the English style then American. Still pretty good though, and the bomber is the perfect size for sessioning this stuff.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.42/5  rDev +24.5%
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.

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pale golden color with a thick foamy head that is off-white in color and leaves some nice lacing.

Big bitter hop smell fills the nose. A little bit of grapefruit mixed in there.

Big, and I mean big, hop bitterness all the way. Grapefruit peel with pine resin. Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. A hint of malt sweetness that does next to nothing to keep the hops in check. Bitterly delightful, a palate wrecker if you will.

Sharp and oily feeling. Light-medium body with a dry finish.

This is a pure hophead beer. Extreme even, but I like it. It drinks pretty well and is actually quite refreshing. May not be for everyone, but I like it quite well.

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Photo of morimech
2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to dormant BA markhvizdak for picking this up in a blind locals-for-locals trade. 115 IBUs of Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, and Colombus? Yes, please!

A: Clear, fairly dark amber body under an inch of frothy ecru foam that shows good retention and leaves plenty of lace. Quite nice.

S: Spicy, vegetal hops with just a touch of caramel malt. Pretty solid, but nowhere near the hop explosion I was hoping for based on the bottle's description. It's also nowhere near as terrible as some of the reviews would suggest.

T: Kind of a muddle of flavors, with spicy hops, bready malt, caramel, and bitter grapefruit all swirling together in a bittersweet melange. The bitterness absolutely dominates everything else on the finish, delivering complete mouth-drying palate destruction. I love the intensity, but it could be much, much more elegantly deployed.

M: Soft, moderately carbonated, mouth-filling medium body. Quite pleasant.

O: I enjoyed this beer, and found it to be an impressively potent IPA in terms of sheer hop bitterness. That said, I'm disappointed in how poorly the flavors of all these terrific hop varieties came together in the end. The potential is all there, but the execution is sadly lacking.

Cheers!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.33/5  rDev +22%
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.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
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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Photo of jsprain1
3.02/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

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Photo of gatornation
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
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

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Photo of bsp77
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of budgood1
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the 22oz. bottle a crystal clear perfect gold with a voluminous ivory head after a hard pour. lots of wispy lace. toasty bready aroma with a zesty citric kick. sort of reminds me of orange marmelade on toast, weird i know. taste is typical of your run of the mill IPA's... solid malt and bread inspired malt base with a good deal of citric and resin inspired zest from the hop profile. there is a great deal of back end bitterness that makes this a nice treat for any hop lover. finishes on the dry side. the overall body is just sturdy enough to prop up the hops and give way to an itchy and scratchy type of mouthfeel due to the advertised 115 IBU's. drinkability is very nice due to the fact that even though this is a fairly bitter feeling brew, it isn't so complex that the approachability suffers.

you want a straight up bitter, no frills IPA? this fits the bill. and, as advertised on the bottle, i concur that this would be a great beer to pair with some spicy indian fare, sharp cheese and buffalo wings. recommended.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.17/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

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Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.