Midnight Expression - Pizza Port Solana Beach

Not Rated.
Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

370 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 370
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 17
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Stoneman78 on 03-16-2008

Formerly called Moonlit Sessions Lager.

also called Midnight Expression
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 370 | Reviews: 244
Reviews by MenardMa:
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is an oily-looking dark brown in color with a decent head.

Smell - The roasted malts are light but dominant with a subtle brown sugary compliment and a mild, baker's-style of cocoa powder.

Taste - The malts come out beautifully at the taste. The raw sugar is a bit bigger on the tongue than it is at the nose but still very small. Port Brewing managed to avoid that nasty tin-flavored aftertaste that seems to permeate just about every American effort of the style.

Mouthfeel - This lager is short of medium-bodied with little carbonation (which is my preference for the style) and very bitter.

Drinkability - I really enjoyed this bier but it is definitely on the bitter end of the style spectrum and may be too choppy for those looking for a more traditionally-balanced brew.

Update - I had this one again almost a year later and it is still a very good drinker. I got more from the nose than I noted in my original review but otherwise the flavors and smells are right on.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at New World Tavern--Plymouth--served into a pint glass

Appearance: black in color, 1/4 inch head, opaque, moderate carbonation

Smell: roasted malt and light chocolate

Taste: roasted malt start with dark chocolate, smokiness and a touch of milk chocolate to combine with the roast at the end

Mouthfeel: super light bodied, moderate carbonation, sweet and dry

Overall: For an American Schwarzbier this is very good. I love the combination of the lightness of its body and the smokiness. The smokiness is prominent but does not come close to rauch levels. This is a solid beer that I will get again.

Photo of magictrokini
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Black pour with a cascading tan head. Rich aroma of coffee, cocoa, cream, and roasted malt. Taste of the same, plus cereal, caramel, and a nutty smokiness. Bittersweet offering with the hops and caramel/chocolate flavors balancing each other out. Never disappointed. Dwarfs other Schwarzbiers.

Photo of ehammond1
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Lost Abbey
San Marcos, CA

Dark black, nearly midnight, pour with a big, stiff brown head. Lots of lacing down the glass. Looks like a thick, creamy stout. Quite impressive!

Dark and roasted malt character in the nose with a touch of coffee and chocolate. If I didn't know better, I'd swear this was an American stout, and certainly not a lager. A lot of complexity and a welcoming, roasty, chocolatey nose for sure.

A delicious, varied, and interesting flavor: this tastes like a great stout. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, no alcohol presence--terrific!

Medium bodied, easy to drink. A ton of flavor for a 5% ABV beer!

A world of flavor in such a low ABV package. Really an incredible treat. A delicious black lager.

Photo of glid02
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this via trade with route66pubs - thanks!

Pours one shade away from black with dark brown highlights and a two-finger dark tan head. The head on this is interesting as it locks up after the pour and dissipates very slowly. Once it recedes into a thin layer on top it leaves decent lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and lots of them. In the background are unsweetened chocolate and charred herbal hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malts up front are joined by a faint citrus kick and earthiness from the hops. Near the end of the sip semi-sweet chocolate flavors join in before a dry and bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got heavy carbonation and a nice thickness.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing the bottle and could sip on this for a while.

Overall this was much roastier than other schwarzbiers I've had (though I haven't had many). Still, it was balanced by the hops and chocolate flavors. Worth a shot.

Photo of pwoods
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to numbeercruncher for this nice extra.

22oz. brown bomber, poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours pitch black, no visibility. Maybe a finger worth of laffe foam colored head with a bit of retention. Some decent lacing.

S: Some debittered roast malts. Light notes of black coffee and grounds. A bit of sweetness to balance out a charred character.

T/M: Good hop character, grassy and earthy with a bit of citrus. Just a light coffee grounds and slightly charred character. It has a bit of a porter like sweetness to it but only really to balance the hops and light coffee/char. Body is medium to medium light with decent carbonation.

D: Pretty easily drinkable and low ABV. Pretty damn flavorful for a 5% brew.

Photo of MrVonzipper
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black in the glass with light showing a little brown at the bottom of the glass. Pour carefully, big head. Dense, foamy tan head with good retention and decent lacing.

Very simple nose. Not alot going on. Dark malt and a little smoke.

Flavor is pretty much the same. No depth. Bitter malt, cacao and smoke on the back end.

Medium bodied and high carbonation.

Overall it's a good beer but I was a little disappointed. I just had higher hopes. Was looking for more depth in flavor and there was virtually none. Its seems like a homebrewers first attempt at the style.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to tayner for this extra

Moonlit sessions is an extremely heavy schwarz. Pours a very deep black with some ruby brown highlights and a good fluffy tan head. Nose is mostly some roasted malts and good porter like burnt flavor. Taste follows. Huge roasted malts with lagery (thick lager) graininess. Gets a bit smoother as it warms. Carbonation is ample. a nice creaminess in there in the middle. Reaching towards a baltic porter type of robustness. Mouthfeel is nice, but is a bit heavy for the style. Drinkability is dampered by the thickness of this one. Overall very heavy and big for the style, but a very good brew. One I would surely return to if it were readily available. Big thanks to tayner for the chance to try this one and all the other fabulous beers she has sent me.

Photo of Sammy
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I like the style, and buying the bomber at Gordon's in Watham, I was a bottle past my 12-packer for the plane. Hence an enjoyable and informative sharing with Jeff at Jaspar's in Nashua. Roasty aroma, black body with permanent off-white little head, with a great drinkability, and this is 10 minutes in the fridge on a warm day. Balanced with a tad of fruitiness, and complexity in the roasted black malt.

Photo of socon67
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared during my first hosted tasting

A - Black pour with a mocha colored foam.

S - Malty smell that has a slight bitter note from its hoppy component.

T - I just love the style in general, and this might be one of the best. A hearty malt flavor that goes to an bitter bite at the end. This is perfect for those folks who love black IPA's.

M - Awesome balance and transition of malty to hoppy flavor. Very easy drinking and goes great with many types of food.

O - I give it a boost for an uncommon style just done well. May the Schwarz be with you!

Photo of WoodBrew
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Port Brewing Black Lager that I picked up is called Midnight Sessions....name must have changed over time. The appeance is great dark....opaque...nice tan head which seems to be lacing. The smell include roast with hint of espresso and hops. The taste is common of most black lagers, light/medium body, with good roasty tones with touchs of coffee, caramel, and hops that help to clean the pallet. The Mouthfeel is very good as well very easy to drink with not overbearing ABV. I am guessing they changed the name because it is a great sesson lager. Overall a very good beer.

Photo of prototypic
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours a very dark brown color, bordering on black. There's a little light through around the edges. The nicest part of the look is the mocha colored head that stands about two fingers tall. Very unexpected and enticing. It receded pretty quickly and left light lacing. But, damn it was nice.

Smell: The is dominated by mostly roasted malts. There's a bit of coffee and maybe even chocolate malt in there, but they're clearly secondary players compared to the roasted malts. It also features a nice smoked aroma that livens it up and adds some complexity. Ultimately, it's a little too light in this department to warrant a higher rating. But, it's a nice smelling beer nonetheless.

Taste: The flavor profile is very nice and straight forward. It's primarily roasted malts that feature a very good smoked flavor. There are some ancillary elements of coffee and chocolate malt that play their complementary roles nicely. But, at the end of the day, it's roasted malts and smoke. It actually sounds a little too simple, but this a nice tasting beer. Mild manner, easy drinking.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and smooth. Carbonation is very well done and it goes down easy. I don't know what the abv is, but it's primed for consumption beyond a single bomber. Mine's disappearing quickly.

Port did a really nice job with this one. I'm really impressed. I was expecting a good beer, but this is actually quite a bit better than I was expecting. I'm really not sure how the flavor could be improved. Perhaps it could be a little more complex, but that could potentially weaken what's a pretty good damn beer as it is. Check it out for yourself. Good stuff.

Photo of MrKennedy
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Beermasons and poured into a 7oz glass.

Not quite jet black appearance, but plenty dark. Just a hint of ruby when examined against the light. Pours with a two finger head of mocha-tan foam that takes a while to settle as film.

Fantastic! Starts off with coffee and a bit of smoke and then plenty of dark chocolate emerges and is joined by more milk chocolate later on. The smell doesn't die with the foam and is very enticing!

First flavour is milk chocolate at the front and then some coffee and dark chocolate follow. Beautiful mix of all three flavours.

Maybe a touch overcarbonated, it is a little prickly early and then smooths right out. Nice coating of the mouth and a wholesome feel at the back end. Very smooth finish.

Very impressed by this, cannot think of a better dark lager that i've come across. Easy to drink, complex, full of flavour and aroma.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Jake Melnicks Corner Tap. Served in a room temp mug

pour was deep cola. light creamy cocoa head and nice retention. great lacing.

light roasted malts, a touch of sweetness, and like coffee.

a nice bold and flavorful lager. hints of smoke, roasted malts, light coffee, maybe some chocolate here and there, dark fruits. light bitterness through out with a great citrus mix of tangerine and grapefruit at the finish.

light body but fairly full. light to moderate carbonation.

this was super easy to drink, nice low ABV, great flavor with nothing really dominating. i drank this rather quickly.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pilsener- pours charcoal black with two fingers of bubbly tan/mocha head, good retention, minimal lacing. Visibly effervescent.

Lots in the nose- roasty malts, a little coffee, some cocoa nibs, and an earthy yeast. Appealing.

Great flavor- still a good amount of roastiness balanced by some dark malt sweetness, good amount of the coffee, a little noble hop bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel is excellent- medium light body (on the lighter side for such a dark beer) with moderate to full carbonation. Very drinkable brew but maybe not quite as full of a body as I would've liked. Get it if you like this style.

Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this one from EchoCharlieEcho, cheers!

Pours a chestnut tinged mahogany with 4 fingers of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark Fruit, brown bread, rye & a touch of licorice when warm

T: Charred grain, a little coffee, brown bread & rye up front along with faint dark cherry. More charred grain & coffee as this warms along with rye bread, dryness & slight grainyness & licorice. Finishes dry, with charred grain & coffee, plus rye crispness

MF: Medium bodied & firm carbonation, smooths out once warm

Drinks so easy, a great example of the style, a tad too much coffee, but still wish I could pick this up on a regular basis

Photo of Kegatron
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to HopDerek for sharing this bottle.

Pours black (with some garnet around the bottom) with a finger of creamy burnt tan head. Retains well with a creamy thin layer that leaves some decent looking lace behind. The aroma smells prominantly of coffee as well as some dark roasted chocolate character and sweet smelling caramel in the back.

The taste is a yummy, roasty mix of coffee, dark malts, chocolate and caramel sweetness, with just a bit of hop bitterness running through. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with creamy carbonation and an easy feel.

A full flavored, roasty, mix that went down way too quickly, this is very solid example of the Schwarbier style. Now excuse me while I go find another bottle...

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No dating. Into the Schlitz Pilsener glass...

A - Not quite black, but very, very dark brown, with brown around the edges. Nice dark tan head with lacing and fine retention.

S - Sweet smoke, roasted malt, and chocolate are huge in the aroma, with some mild bacon-like roastedness and fattiness. Hops are present, and add some grassiness. Good balance.

T/M - Malt starts out mild and roasted, with some semi-sweet chocolate, metalic, and more esters than really fit for me. Chocolate and smoke flavors build, and by the midpalate, the beer shows good balance. The finish allows the hops to dry out the chocolate with espresso and light citrus notes and the smoke to really explode and hang around for a while. Mid bodied with mild carbonation.

D - As one who really likes smoke, I was quite happy with this one. No major complaints, just wouldn't have minded a bit less esters in this one. A fine American Schwarzbier, and price seemed right at $5.99... Had with some Hoch Ybrig (firm cheese, raw cow milk bathed in chardonnay) and it seemed to work, brought out sweet malt and hay in the beer, and seemed to match strength... but I'm an amateur...

Photo of WOTO97
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a pretty interesting SChwarzbier. I was definitely expecting something a little lighter on the palate, but Midnight Sessions was relatively dense with some pretty vivacious malt character. Pours a dark char color with a cream head; nominal lacing. Lots of roasted malt character for the style with some pretty nice smoke notes as well. Just a hint of hop bitterness that balances the malt notes nicely. A bit less crispness than I was expecting, but the nose was still pretty pleasant. The body is pretty dense for the style with a nice smoke and roast quality to the malt. Although the hop qualities were not as pronounced to me as some other posts, enough bitterness was present to balance out the malt. All-in-all a really nice pour and light enough to make me want another once the first disappeared. I really like this one, but knock it a few points for being off style in my opinion.

Photo of alleykatking
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a black as night color. one finger tan head showed decent retention. Stick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Some light toasted grains from the get go along with a roasted malt base. Chocoalte aroma and some coffee come into play in the back. Light smoked aroma as well in the tail end.

T- Toasted grain bill along with a caramel malt lager flavor makes for a good flavored beer. There is a nice chocolate undertone to the entire backend of the beer. A light smokey flavor toward the end of the beer makes this beer greater.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts and toasted grains left on the palate with a smokey aftertaste. Light drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were well blended overall in the beer making for a fantastic flavorful beer.

D- I know people all the time talk about Port Brewing in a negative light. I have yet to have something terrible from them and to be honest this beer was fantastic. Port please keep doing what you are doing and I will keep trading for you until you decided to come into Indiana (cough cough).

Photo of mscudder
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh growler from HopCity.

A - Pours a dark chocolate brown with a nice large fluffy chocolate tan head. Leaves some good lace behind.

S - Sweet chocolate and coffee, a personal favorite pairing of mine. behind this there are some notes of vanilla and some roasted malts. Very good!

T - Tastes of coffee and chocolate held together by a nice caramel roasted malt. As the beer progresses a bit of dryness comes through, showcasing nut and some slightly bitter flavors.

M - Medium body which is rich with a nice creamy sensation for being a relatively thin beer. This beer shines in this category in a growler versus the bottled version, where the carbonation from a bottle is high and here.... perfect!

O - I cannot say enough good things about this beer. The drinkability for these flavors is quite high, which I find relatively rare. On tap it is as good as I could image, fulling realizing the potential I thought possible when I had my first bottle around one year ago. I will state a bit of bias in that this is a personal favorite combination of tastes and such, but regardless this beer should be sought out by anyone looking for a complex dunkel.

Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with a fluffy coffee colored head. Cocoa and bitter coffee on the nose with some earthy hops. Pungent nose. Cocoa nibs and bitter black chocolate bitterness up front complimented by a layer of coffee flavor. Medium in body with thin carbonation. Deep roasted malt flavor comes through. A complex brew at 5% with quite a few layers of flavors and big flavor at that. Thins out slightly on the finish but otherwise good beer.

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pint 6 oz, bottled 12/17/10:

The beer appeared midnight black which produced a thick brown head that was not particularly well retained, but did provide for some lacing and a spotty cap remained.

The beer gave off a nice malt aroma. Not much else.

The beer followed the nose and had a nice malty taste with no real noticeable hop presence. The beer was pretty simple and straight forward.

The beer had a Lighter feel to it and perhaps the carbonation was a bit light. The beer was smooth, clean and very easy to drink. Overall, this is the second beer for this style and I am quickly determining that it is not one of my favorites. Not a bad style, just not for me, but I can appreciate it and will probably try to give some of the higher rated ones a try.

Photo of Bung
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz. Very nice dark brown pour, beige head. Frothy head lasting quite a while and really sticking to the glass. Aroma is very roasty, surprising amount of coffee. Also a good amount of chocolate and some roast malt. Flavors are quite strong for such a low abv brew. Dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt and coffee, char. A little ashy at first, but it smoothes out as it warms. Creamy mouthfeel, this also improves with temp. Finishes like a fine stout, lots of roast and coffee. Drinkability through the roof. Would love to have this for my daily drinker. Could definetely argue this was not exactly to style, but at the end of the day, I can't help but rate it for what it is, a real good beer.
Side note, more brewers need to focus on a quality Schwarz, it is the session beer for the dark beer folks.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark heresy chocolate pour is dense black in the glass but offers little in the way of head and lace.

S: Earthy dark roasted malt, burnt wood, dark cocoa with a nice level of delivery.

T: Dark and bitter, earthy roasted woodiness and coffee with some burnt chocolate. Lingering coffee is roasty, fresh, and rich, yet smooth and silky. Finishes off with some roasted barley.

M: was quiet carbonation wise, oily roast feel.

O: Overall a black lager with a smooth easy yet respectable roastiness that is quite relaxing.

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Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
87 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.