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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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woosterbill
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
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!

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.

Photo of garymuchow
3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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 MattyG85
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
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 Penguin3200
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had in a bottle poured into my darkness tuplip. This one holds teh IBU title in Minneapolis for an American IPA and the bitterness is a bit overwhelming.

Pours deep amber golden color, with minimal head and good lacing.

Smell is resinous and very northwoods piney.

Taste is similar with a biting astringency of pine sap and up north coniferous sap. Very disjointed and not intergrated like the likes of the finest IPAs.

Mouthfeel is rough with the piney sap crushing taste buds. It is drinkable, but could be much more balanced.

Overall a decent IPA, but not memorable or int he usual rotation.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
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 ccrida
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a New Belgium globe. Thanks, Franco, for the samples.

A: Pours golden yellow with a white head that fades out quickly. Lacing is sticky, and takes some time to fall down the glass.

S: Very faint on the nose. Lots of caramel malt, with honey and some toast, with a spicy, piney hop aroma. I can detect Summit hops, as there is a strong hint of onion. Almost a bit too much.

T: Much better than the smell. Crisp and dry at first, with hop flavors consisting of citrus, pine, grass, and flowers. Malt kicks in the middle with notes of honey and cereal, followed by a bitter, yet smooth finish.

Notes: This beer is light to moderate in body, a bit less than I expected from it. It's carbonation is lively, and very pleasant. Mainly, Northwest Passage is a solid IPA. Not the best out there, and not the worst. Quite drinkable, and one that I would re-visit in the future.

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 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.

Photo of budgood1
3.55/5  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.

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
3.98/5  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.

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
2.85/5  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.

Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
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
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
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
2.58/5  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.

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!!!

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.

Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.