Northwest Passage - Flat Earth Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage

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BA SCORE
81
good

125 Ratings
THE BROS
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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
Photo of Tballz420
2.71/5  rDev -23.9%
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.

Photo of budgood1
3.56/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of soze47
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Taken from notes, consumed late 12/10 or 01/11 from a 22 oz. bomber.

Appearance: Orange, almost golden with yellowish tints. Very sticky lacing, which is odd since their isn't a huge head.

Aroma: Slight citrus hops backed by substantial caramel malt sweetness.

Taste: Very short hop burst that gets over taken by caramel, bready malt. The malt fades away enough for the hop bitterness to come back on the linger.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light side of medium bodied. An odd beer in that I could see drinking it, but probably no more than two due two malt sweetness. The palette just gets too tired.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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 yourefragile
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of tavernjef
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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.

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 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 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 auro0006
2.6/5  rDev -27%
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.

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!!!

Photo of ballz50401
2.92/5  rDev -18%
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.

Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +18%
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.

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 mothman
2/5  rDev -43.8%
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.

Photo of tewaris
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Northwest Passage
Flat Earth Brewing Company
American IPA
6.5 % ABV
1.065 OG
115 IBUs
12 SRM
22 oz bottle with no freshness date poured into a New Belgium snifter.

Appearance 3.0/5
Copper orange, brilliant clarity, no sediment, poor head retention, poor lacing. Average for an American IPA

Aroma 3.5/5
First impression is grainy sweet but as the beer warms up, it's grassy. The aroma is similar (not identical) to Furious, but weaker. Some fruitiness here and there. I'd rate it slightly above average.

Taste 3.5/5
Slightly fruity sweet at the beginning followed by tons of citrus grapefruit bitterness. Very dry and bitter in finish, with a lingering clean bitterness. Could have been phenomenal had there been enough malts to support. Slightly above average at best.

Mouthfeel 3.0/5
Thin. Very crisp. More like a pils than an IPA.

Drinkability 5/5
Very high for a hop head. In general, 22 oz should be more than enough.

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

First had this on tap at Sturbs durring MN Craft beer week. Now its out in bottles? Great!

Poured from the bomber, blue cap to match the label, into the pint glass, semi rigorously creating just shy of 2 inches white head. Settling to leave a solid thick cap and thin lace rings.
Color is a clear dark golden color. Excellent staying power for head retention cap.

Aroma of pungeant leafy hops, mildly hemp like with a spice and touch of aspirin. Also a small of amount of fruity hops too. Although there are faint aromas of the last two, the aroma is not subdued by any means, good hop aroma. Breadyness present as well with a slight amount of caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a dabble of slickness.

Taste upfront is sweet with a bit of malt present and caramel, also some grain flavors.
Hops proceed to explode with gushing bitters, rind, hemp, pine and leafy herbal flavors. Bittering long time.
The finish is all bitterness exploding hops that destroy the pallet.

Very good ipa. Not very balanced, but if you wants the five fingers to say to the face hop slap, then this one is for you.

Photo of jjanega08
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this many times now and I'm a little suprised this is my first review of this beer.

A= The pour leaves a deep deep translucent amber color with a huge thick creamy head on it. Some pretty nice retention and sticky lacing.

S= The smell is a ton of hops. Not much as far as malt comes through. This really smells a lot like a brewery. Tons of bright chipper hops. Not much else.

T= Much of the same in the taste as the smell. This is a beer with super intense flavor. Not for the weak minded at all. There is a lot of pine but mostly the most bitter grapefruit peel you've ever had. The finish is resinous.

M= My only problem with this beer is the carbonation is a little high. I actually open the growler and let it sit out a while now before I pour my first glass just to let it calm down.

D= As I mentioned before this beer is not for the weak minded at all. One of the most bitter things I've ever had and really rips your tongue up. I'm happy I live so close to the brewery because this beer satisfies all hop cravings.

Photo of boomer31
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased at brewery tour.

A - Clear gold with huge white head that just looks so beautiful sticking to the glass. Looks like a stained glass window.

S - Grapfruit and not much else. According to the brewmaster this is the hoppiest IPA brewed in the state according to measured IBUs (take that Furious and Masala). I'm shocked at the nose though, just not much hear.

T - There they are!! Huge grassy hop bitterness that goes all the way through and remains bitter in the mouth. I would agree that this guy is more bitter than Furious, Masala and Abrassive...but it sure isn't as balanced. Huge hops here.

M - The huge carbonation really makes this thing seem lighter than it is...reminds me of a hoppy pilsner with the appearance and body.

D - Very drinkable despite the bitterness.

Overall interesting if you love hops...I can see this thing really turning away some folks that don't love hops. A nice beer from Flat Earth

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