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Northwest Passage | Flat Earth Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
81
good
56 Reviews
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Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by edbeered on 04-02-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
138
Avg:
3.53
pDev:
24.93%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
12
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 138
Photo of KarlHungus
4.42/5  rDev +25.2%
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.

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Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.42/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours light bronze with good white head that fades out quickly. Nice lacing and takes some time to fall.

S: Hoppy scent with a heavy honey scent. Almost smells like pineapple too.

T: Dry crisp hoppy start. Bitter finish that is not too overpowering.

M: Good carbonation and great blend, long lingering flavor.

O: Great IPA with the sweet scent and notes. I would do again for sure and would recommend giving it a try if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle 3.99 1pt6oz

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Photo of MattyG85
4.33/5  rDev +22.7%
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 PerHops
4.32/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +19%
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 feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +19%
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 edbeered
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of Mdog
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Gold, nice carbonation, big head, good lacing.

Smell: Nice citrus aroma.

Taste: Bready, then a solid blast of bitter hops. Lasting bitterness in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Nice light feel, good hop delivery without being too heavy.

Picked up a growler for NYE and cracked it open. This is a very solid IPA which almost seems like it could be a session beer--not too heavy despite being heavily hopped. Good stuff!

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.09/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a beer mug after a pleasant day at the parents' new cabin.

A-A bright, moderately hazed amber brew, topped with a minimal off-white head which reduced relatively quickly to scattered remnants.

S-It seems quite approriate for an American-styled IPA: explosive, maybe even overwhelming hop aromas taking hold of my olfactory sensors, letting go for only the briefest moments to allow any semblance of maltiness through. Thick hops, resiny, herbal, and earthy, are in the spotlight here, and boy do they shine.

T-This tastes exactly how I would expect it to, based on the smell. Enormous hop characters of the resiny and herbal persuasion take charge of this flavor, quickly followed by a very aggressive bitterness (I think I read somewhere this one is approaching 100 IBU?). As I continued to enjoy this brew, I was able to pick out some malty nuances under all of the hoppiness. Finshes bitter and hoppy, just as it began.

M-Carbonation was appropriate and consistent for all the growlers of this beer that I purchased, on the level of medium carbonation, almost prickling. This beer is probably relatively moderate bodied based on its malt backbone, but the hops and hop bitterness catapult this guy beyond a malty moderate body, adding dimensions of pucker, dry, and twangy feels... perhaps a little too hop-puckery, at times.

D-Very good drinkability. One of the best brews from Flat Earth, I think, and one that I look forward to having more in the future.

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Photo of plfahey
4.08/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 JohnPecod
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really solid IPA that reminded me of a slightly inferior version of FW Union Jack. A nice presence of biscuity malt and a variety of hops working well together. Love the back-end bitterness and the drinkability of this one. Could be easy to dismiss because it's from MN but that would be a mistake.

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 mynie
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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 zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppered colored ale that's straw gold around the edges with stark white head that lingers nicely. Big hop nose with grapefruit under grassy spice and fresh mowed lawn. Clearly lots of hops--115 IBU by the website from a combo of Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, & Columbus (according to a Four Firkins description). Clearly, northwest hops seems like a great idea. Sharp hop bite, but not overwhelming. Chewy from hops, and the grassy notes continue in the mouth. Can feel the acid linger on my tongue. I like it quite a bit, but can see where it might put off those that don't like chewing on hops. Mouthfeel seems a bit light, but that's what let's the hops shine through. Very nice beer for a fall evening.

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Photo of tempest
3.86/5  rDev +9.3%
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 Buebie
3.86/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
3.8/5  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!

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Photo of ccrida
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
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 bsp77
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
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 tavernjef
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
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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Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.
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