1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Midnight Expression - Pizza Port Solana Beach

Not Rated.
Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

369 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 369
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 19
Gots: 8 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 369 | Reviews: 244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rainintheface
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark, dark brown bordering on black. small tan head.

S: roasted aroma. faint chocolate, fresh brewed coffee and nuts

T: malty. tobacco. has kind of a mocha flavor with a little less chocolate than i was expecting

M: medium body, smooth with moderate carbonation. very faint bitterness

D: mighty tasty and sessionable

Photo of cvstrickland
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The drink pours ebony-colored with a pale tan head that quickly recedes to a ring that leaves a few freckles of lacing on the glass.

Smell is a bit nutty and malty.

Taste is a bit toasty and malty with grassy hops and a pleasant lactic twang. A burnt note and powdery dry finish brings things to a close.

Light-medium bodied with great drinkability.

Photo of
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle.

Clear, black liquid. Looked orange at the edges when held up to light. Medium sized, dark tan head. Minimal lacing and legs.

Roasty aroma, some chocolate as well. Something sweet/fruity in there I can't identify.

Taste was mostly bitter, a combination of hops and roast. Sweet, wheat bread in the middle, hard to pick out from the bitter.

Light to medium body. Low to medium carbonation, could pick up a bit. Not particulary dry.

Very much a session beer. Taste character of a stout, with the mouthfeel of a lager.

Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an amazingly deep black with a very fluffy tan head. Darker and richer in color than many stouts I've had.

S-Rich and roasty. Burnt coffee and roasted malts with a little bit of smokiness.

T-Excellent. Following the nose with a moderate roasted malt and coffee flavor. Also nicely smoky.

M-Very light on the tongue for such a full flavor. Very nice.

D-Excellent. Light on the ABV but rich in taste. Goes nicely with food or goes down easy on its own.

Another excellent beer from Port/LA. Maybe even better than the Serpent's Stout and that is saying something.


Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."

--Oscar Wilde

Charred pecan brown with meager highlights of gold and black raspberry twinkling at the edges. This might be the darkest schwarzbier in history. In fact, it looks like a stout. The brown sugar colored cap looks very nice. It's also slathering the glass with some pretty wonderful lace... that doesn't last.

The nose is stout-like as well. It isn't exactly a pungent malt monster, but then show me a schwartz schnoz that is. I'm reminded of a mixture of crushed coffee beans and crushed cocoa nibs. An American hoppiness adds yet another dimension.

Moon Lit Sessions Lager is made from the second runnings of the Serpent's Stout mash. With that in mind, how do the dark malt hand-me-downs taste? Very good, as it turns out. I find it hard to believe that this is how most schwarzbiers are created. It works, though, so who am I to question the masters at Port Brewing?

This beer was built for sessioning. I know because it says so on the label, right between Lit and Lager. The flavor profile isn't deep sea deep, but it ain't a snorkler either. If you aren't familiar with the style, think Irish dry stout. Actually, that's what I would have called it if blinded.

Black coffee continues to lead dark chocolate by a nose at all points along the flavor arc. I love the gentle roastiness and the light char. Although there isn't a ton of hop flavor, their bitterness rushes in at the midway point and lends a crisp, dry snappiness to the back end. Drinkability is up there.

Considering the style, the mouthfeel is just about right. It's medium in a general sense and doesn't deteriorate no matter how long one savors the goods. I like a beer of this ABV that stays with me through the finish.

Port Moon Lit Sessions Lager is delicious beer. That's no surprise given the brewery that created it. Although it might not measure up to the style's heavy hitters, it's a dark lager that I would love to drink again. And again. And again.

Photo of hero27
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber.
5.0% abv

Thrown is an extra by WasTrinkenSie, kick ass.

Looks like pure, opaque onyx sitting in the glass..with a modest head of tan froth neatly covering the brew.
Burnt malts, roasted peppercorns, subtle dark chocolate, and a touch of liquid smoke. A slight residual coffee flavor, but it's greatly shown-up by the big roasted malt aspect here. Very dry finish and a lingering grassy hop aftertaste. Quite tasty.
Light body & lively carbonation. An exponentially drinkable dark lager.

This would make a great marinade for a nice, juicy steak as well..
A very good Schwarz from Port Brewing Company, glad I had the chance to try it.

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 srandycarter
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black pour, not much head, small ring left. Thin soapy lacing.

S - Unsweetened chocolate. Some sweet malt back, but mostly the chocolate. A hint of coffee too.

T - Silty bakers chocolate across the tongue. Pretty astringent. Some malt but not much. Very dry.

M - Medium body, great carb and balance.

D - VERY interesting beer and glad to try it. Would get tiring fast, though.

Photo of Crosling
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, nearly black with ruby edges. Quickly diminishing foam. Smells like a Schwarzbier should with notes dried chocolate, cocoa and dried coffee grounds. Flavor is well balanced, with schwarzbier dryness and notes of dried chocolate and fruit. Let's not get carried away here. It's a well made beer. I think Kidd Lager is better.

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

22oz bottle received from largadeer. Thanks! Poured into my RRBC pint glass

A: Pitch black with a mocha-colored head. Dark brown highlights. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a gorgeous coating all around the glass

S: Simple yet complex with a ton of roasted malt, nuts, hints of cream and smoke and what almost smells like a hint of anise. Quite delicious

T: Burnt and roasted malts to start things off and this is followed by coffee and a hint chocolate. Bitter finish from the roasted malts

M: Medium-light body with a fantastic finish. Carbonation is present and goes well with the rest of the experience

D: Very very drinkable, one of the better schwarzbiers i've had and i'd gladly drink it again.

Notes: From what i heard, this was brewed from the second runnings of the Serpent Stout. It does show some stout characteristics but is recognizably a great schwarzbier.

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

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a minimal uneven head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. What head there is slowly recedes to the sides of the surface, with average to good lacing. Aroma is dark malts, coffee, and an underlying fruitiness. Taste follows the nose, with slightly acrid coffee lingering after the swallow. Mouthfeel and drinkability both pretty good. Overall, not quite what I was expecting from Port, but not bad at all.

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 aerozeppl
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to bwyker and kendo for the bottles.

A: Mostly black with brown around the edge. Minimal white head with some spotty lacing.

S: Hints of coffee and roast.

T: Sweet up front with some chocolate hidden in there. Good taste.

M: Super dry/ med body with good carbonation.

D: Tons of flavor for a low abv beer. Excellent session beer/

Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: From a bomber. Body is black at first blush, but when held to the light is dark brown with crimson around the edges. Small tan head over top, but no lacing.

S: Smoky peat and roasted malt, with a hint of coffee.

T: Smoked malt and peat come to mind. Also roasted malt and roasted coffee beans, with a hint of chocolate as it warms. Finishes with a dry, earthy finish that lingers on the palate as a dry sort of bitterness.

M: Light in heft, nicely carbonated.

D: Very good.

Notes: A nice shift from the usual hoppy beers I regularly consume. My first Port Brewing beer, but hopefully not my last. Definitely a good session beer.

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

Appearance: Pours a black, opaque body capped by a frothy, bubbly, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of dark malts, roasted licorice root, dark caramel, and fruit. Waft of pipe smoke, too!

Taste: Dark, roasty maltiness with a very restrained sweetness. Tastes of licorice and caramel. Splash of mineral water. Roasty bitterness. Slight tart fruitiness underneath all the heavily burnt malts. Smooth, smokey finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carboantion.

Drinkability: Geez Louise, this thing's more roasty than some stouts, yet it still retains a pleasingly crisp body. Good stuff!

Photo of brewcrew76
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for this one.

A - Black with ruby highlights and a thin tan head.

S - Strong roasted malt with a lingering bitterness and a touch of coffee and chocolate.

T - Big roasted malt with maybe just a touch of espresso followed by a touch of chocolate and a dry, grassy hop bitterness that lingers.

M - Light but not watery with a nice dry finish.

D - A tasty sessionable schwarzbier. I wish more breweries would make this style.

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

Pours very dark, almost black, with a smallish tan head that has decent retention and leaves some lacing.

Mellow roasted aroma with chocolate, light smoke, and burnt popcorn. Clean and intoxicating - I love this aroma.

Wonderfully soft malt flavors. Roasted character that is mellow and not sweet with a hint of smoke. Some bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and light roast coffee. Some toasted grain and the perfect amount of sweetness. Similar to a porter, but clean with no fruitness. Finishes dry with a light lingering roastiness. Paired well with a burger straight from the grill.

Medium in body, smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Maybe has just a touch too much carbonation. This is like my perfect session beer - roasty, clean, and not heavy. I could drink this 24/7.

Big thanks to Himerman for hooking me up with this tasty treat as part of the BIF Race '08.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark and opaque in color. Some decent head going on. Mellow aroma-some roasted and chocolate highlights. Soft malty flavor. Just great chocolate tinge to it. Mellow roasted flavors. Nice graininess. Very full and malty body. A great, great beer at 5%, so the label states. The whole package makes for a great schwarzbier. The great flavors and full body almost make me think of it as a porter. Would do this again and again and again.

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque black with a tan-colored head.

Smell: Smoke and chocolate primarily with an odd undertone of semi-burnt popcorn, and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Taste: Light-bodied and clean. Malty but not especially sweet; flavors of bittersweet chocolate and dark roasted coffee are at the forefront. The finish is roasty and bitter but cleans up nicely without much fuss. Unsurprisingly this tastes a lot like Serpent's Stout, just a whole lot lighter (it's just as delicious though).

Drinkability: Highly quaffable stuff!

Notes: Great stuff, highly recommended.

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

I bought this bottle from South Bay Drugs & Liquor. Thanks Joey!

Ahh, a Schwarzbier..I haven't too many of them...

It pours a very dark brown, almost black, actually. A nice 1 finger head of tannish foam and some nice lacing. Nice looking brew. The foam shrinks to just a ring around the glass a few minutes into the session.

Taking a few whiffs, I get a very bitter chocolate smell matched by a very roasted malt nose, and it's nice.

The taste..well...it's damn tasty! A lot of roasted malt and chocolate up front and then some coffee notes sneak in and in the background, I taste just a touch of citrus. Yummy. Now I'm getting some smokiness that I didn't expect. Dang. 5%abv, eh? Plenty of flavour here. ;^)

It has a light body , which I expected, the carbonation is fairly brisk, also expected, and it finishes with a bitter bite from the roasted and dark chocolate malt. A very nice and quite bitter brew.

Photo of mcallister
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened this lager up without reading about it prior. Wasn't expecting a black lager. But I'm glad it is!! Looks great nearly black in color with red surroundings and a small mocha head that leaves foamy moppy lace.

Full of coffee and dark chocolate aromas with bready earthy malts. A zip of lager yeast freshens the ole factor. Mollasses and caramel as well. Very nice.

Man this a big beer for 5% alcochol. Just loads of coffee grinds and dark bitter chocolate flavors. A hint of caramel, comes through with a bit of a piney hop on the finish. Bready in the middle with a mollasses touch. Very dry and creamy in the mouth. A good beer but not neccesarily one I would session. Very complex Schwarzbier.

Photo of bosco7
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark black with tan creamy head.

Roasted aromas dominate the nose. Bread pudding, chocolate, and some vanilla as well.

Starts almost as dry as it finishes. Roasty coffee and chocolate flavors upfront. Maybe some smoke in there too. Some really mild cherry in the middle.

Very nice mouthfeel rich yet highly attenuated and dry. This is probably my favorite aspect of the beer.

Overall an interesting beer that is extremely sessionable (though the sticker price here in PA might be a bit much for most to have a true session with). Recommended.

Photo of jamie2dope
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a style that I don't get to visit often, so It was nice to see a brewery like Port brewing one. Pours a cool black color, with very minimal heading, mostly just a small white lacing around the rim of the glass. Aroma has a very big presence of cola, smoke, and roast. Taste is roasted, with bits of mocha and chocolate coming through here and there. Body is medium, with some very nice carbonation in there to keep the feel lively. At first, the drinking of this beer seemed like a bit of a chore, but after one glass, I kept going back for more. by the time I was done with the bomber, I was craving more. This is an extremely drinkable dark beer. I knew Port wouldn't let me down with this one. Grab one or two if ya see it around. Cheers

Photo of IBUnit63
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bomber to Cab glass...

Pours like Italian roast coffee - deep, dark brown color with hint of licorice. 1 1/2-finger, rye bread-colored head dissipates steadily, leaving good Florentine cookie lacing and typical espresso foam.

Deep-roasted malt character blends with chicory-like grassy hops, a roasted peanut tone and perhaps some pecans...maybe cornbread (?)...Very nice aroma; some grill smoke emerges with warmth.

There's a great deal of roasted malt in the aroma that translates to a very strong charcoal taste sensation. The profile of this as a lager doesn't necessarily support the heavy char up front to achieve proper balance all the way through to the finish. Back of palate finds a little metallic aftertaste, somewhat typcial for a lager, but mostly a fair amount of slate and a slight, austere alcohol burn. With further warmth, balance emerges to display the quality expected of an exceptional example of this style.

Mouthfeel has warm comfort in front but a moderately bitter German tinge in finish typical for lager. Warmth provides more depth in feel than previously experienced earlier in sampling.

A well-made effort of an entirely underrated style shows considerably more complexity than a traditionally light-bodied lager. Its smoky nature lends itself to savoring only 1 or 2, but an enjoyable 1 or 2.

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Oberon weizen glass. Poured an opaque black with ruby red highlights around the edges. One inch tan colored head eventually settled into a thin consistent skim of foam. Scents of chocolate and roasted malt. Some thin lacing with decent consistency present during the session. Nose consistent with flavors, as well as the presence of coffee and some lingering hops bitterness at the finish. Not quite medium-bodied, with a lively mouthfeel and a mild carbonation burn. Consistency is somewhat similar to a stout, but light enough to be sessionable. I've been drinking quite a few schwarzbiers lately, and this one is quite good; however, not the best I've had. A little to much lingering bitterness makes this less of a go to for me relative to the style.

Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
87 out of 100 based on 369 ratings.