Today’s Brew For Thought is from St. Paul’s Flat Earth Brewing Company, a microbrewery that is all about making people think. Each of their beers were named to get drinkers striking up conversation with fellow imbibers to discuss their meaning. Flat Earth’s Northwest Passage’s assertive hop levels (it’s sits prominently at 115 IBUs) certainly forces the brave soul who orders it to ponder its qualities. While other IPAs with such high hop levels can be overpoweringly bitter, Northwest Passage somehow navigates the harsh possibilities toward a surprisingly pleasant hop profile like the first explorers who made their way through the real Northwest Passage, surrounded by ice floes threatening to splinter open the hull at any given moment. After the first sip, a flash of relief ran through me as if I had just seen the labyrinth of ice open to the vastness of the Pacific.
This beer is meant for long journeys. Journeys of uncertainty and risk. It is there for the beginning and lasts to the bitter end. The hops remind one of summer and of green grass, trees and flowers in full bloom; thoughts that keep us going through the long dark of winter. This ale definitely keeps us thinking and drinking, yearning to reach the end of the maze lying ahead of us. It pours a clear and golden and with hop aromas abounding from the glass, hinting at piney Northwest forests and pastures of wildflowers. The middle is flowery as well, but very crisp. This beer seems to embody the old adage that life favors the bold, so drink up my friends because there’s still more to be explored.
Best Enjoyed: Well chilled on the lake or river.
Best Paired With: Flat Earth recommends Pho, Buffalo wings and bon fires.
Find It: St. Paul, MN at Flat Earth Brewing Co. and in stores around the Twin Cities.
For more information, visit the Flat Earth Brewing Co. website.