Northwest Passage | Flat Earth Brewing Company

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Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage

Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

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

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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 140
Photo of Czequershuus
2.93/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This beer pours a sightly hazy amber with a solid head. The aroma offers up caramel, wheat, almonds, raisin, grilled mango, pine, and orange oil. The flavor offers up caramel and sunflower seed, dank resin, pine, as well as dark earthy tones. The mouthfeel is thick but with a somewhat astringent finish. Overall I cannot say I really like this beer. It ticks all the wrong boxes for me - too sweet, too thick, muted hops - it does have a nice level of bitterness, but this alone cannot save it.

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Photo of Chaz
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours an amber-gold in color, with near-excellent clarity and an off-white head. Good head retention and lacing.

Nose is that of a classic, 'old-school' American IPA: Big, bitter hop profile, with not much in the way of malt character peeking through.

Big, bitter bite on the first sip, with a clean and fairly neutral yeast character and just a touch of sweetness. Bitterness lingers nicely, and this one is classically dry. Lightly herbal (mint) character coming through toward the end.

Really not much malt character here, but it's not off-style at all. Light malt character, heavy on the hops, quite bitter, and lightly sweet.

Lighter bodied, but not thin. Easy-drinking and about the right strength for the style.

Not a bad beer at all! But the desired, of the moment hop profile of today's IPA drinkers (especially the younger ones) has shifted to a very different place.

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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 jsprain1
3.02/5  rDev -14.4%
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 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 augustgarage
3.17/5  rDev -10.2%
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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Photo of oline73
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
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 yamar68
3.31/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark gold with consistent beading and two full fingers of thick dollops of slightly off-white head. Nose has grassy hops, some floral notes, some piney bits - not much in the way of anything citrus or fruity. The taste is pretty earthy, herbal. The bitterness is muddied up in there. Not my favorite offering from Flat Earth.

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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 NuclearDolphin
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz Pint Glass; Note, according to my tour of Flat Earth Brewing, this beer supposedly has the highest IBU of any beer in the Midwest

Appearance - Clear Dark Orange Color with a mild amount of carbonation; it's unusally clear for an IPA. The head is around 2 1/2 finger width and very fluffy and foamy and leaves behind some very sticky lacing

Smell - Very Strong Piney and Floral Hops Smell. The citrus and grapefruit smell in particular are also pretty strong here as well. Even with the glass sitting 2 feet from me, I could still smell it. The aroma in general packs quite a punch!

Taste - There are quite a variety of flavors at work here. On one end, you have very strong piney and floral hops upfront and leaving behind a very bitter impression on the palette. On the other end, you have a spicy flavoring with a slight hint of sweetness, which sort of balances out the bitterness The aftertaste is that of a bitter floral hops flavor.

Mouthfeel - The overall body is fairly light and feel of this beer is surprisingly smooth and creamy. It's surprisingly easy to drink as well for an IPA!

Overall - All in all, it's a decent IPA. Those who like their beers hoppy will find alot to enjoy here. The flavor is slightly off balance in terms of flavor, but it's still a good IPA that's pretty easy to drink as well!

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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 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 Nugganooch
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes from 09/22/11
*Bomber to pint

A: Pours a dull brassy pale color with a soapy one finger head. Fizzin' out some sparce lace.

S: Smells of sweet bready malts and has a sort of spice hop spiked nose. Honey grahams.

T: More bready with a honey sweetness. Slight citrus/pine hop flavs but pale malts really dominate. Touch of a spicy clove like flavor that I would almost expect with a Belgian yeast. Slight metallic aftertaste.

M: Lighter body with a bit of a creamy mouthcoat and a nice refreshing crisp finish.

D: Refreshing and light but bit run of the mill for me in regards to flavors.
Overall a honey-bread and clove spice combo lacking in the hops.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
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.


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Photo of JackieTH
2.18/5  rDev -38.2%
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.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
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 happygnome
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
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

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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 Penguin3200
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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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 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 WYVYRN527
3.71/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Northwest Passage from Flat Earth Brewing Company
3.53 out of 5 based on 140 ratings.
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