Midnight Expression | Pizza Port Solana Beach

very good
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Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression

Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly called Moonlit Sessions Lager.

also called Midnight Expression

Added by Stoneman78 on 03-16-2008

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Reviews: 245 | Ratings: 373
Photo of Sammy
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger tan head with nice lacing on a jet black.

S: roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla. this is very stout like.

T: smokiness comes out more in the flavor with a nice coffee and roasted malt base. vanilla and milk chocolate late in the finish for a sweet ending.

M: full body with moderate carbonation. nicely smooth.

Overall: I have limited experience with this style. This one is very flavorful and full bodied but still light going down making it very drinkable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/20/11.

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. A latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and roasty coffee and cocoa bean aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, and some cocoa powder. A nice roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Slightly too much carbonation in my opinion. Overall, this is a great schwarzbier and quite a surprise really. I wasn't expecting this beer to be so good. Very tasty and very drinkable and it only packs a 5% ABV.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

excellent black lager, love the surfing theme too. it could not be priced any better, at under 3 bucks a bomber, this could become a go to for me. dark brown pour with a lively rising mocha head, looks like a good porter. smells like heavily roasted malts, more than the normal schwarzbier calls for. chocolate too, dark and rich, and lager yeast. the depth of flavor caught me off guard, lots of complexity and layering here. chocolate is really forward, cool in a lager, and the roast of the barley is about as dark as it can be. lager yeast doesn't do quite enough to lighten it up and shorten the finish, that part is a bit out of whack for the style guidelines, but I almost prefer its chalky long bitter finish because I really like the flavors here. a touch thin on the body for all the depth, but it is a lager I suppose. an excellent beer overall, one of the better black lagers ive had.

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Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber (near jet black) in color and poured with a two finger high tan head that quickly died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are light aromas of dark malts in the nose; the smell becomes warmer as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of dark malts are present in the taste along with notes of roasted malts and hints of chocolate in the finish. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and is also quite sessionable. It is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a stout like obsidian color with a foamy beige head that sticks well but doesn't leave much lace; it doesn't look like a stout, it's just as dark as a stout

Smell: Incredibly roasty, with plenty of black bread character

Taste: Opens with that black bread character that was noted in the aroma, with a crisp lager finish; the black bread lingers and there is a hint of chocolate and coffee in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with crisp, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Who would have thought a shwarzbier would be this much fun to drink? Port Brewing has put a unique touch on this brew using the second runnings from their Serpent's Stout

Thanks, BrewBakerE, for the opportunity and to mdaschaf, for the chance to re-visit

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Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Paired with garlic bread. Expectations are above average given the brewery, though I don't particularly care for the style.

Acquired at Wades Wine in Westlake Village, California. Cost was $4.29 USD plus tax.

A: Pours a two finger head of fair cream, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a solid black. It's generally appealing.

Sm: Dry schwarzbier malts: nuts and maybe vague chocolate. Dark malts. Caramel. A mild strength aroma.

T: Dark malts, with notes of nuts and vague chocolate. The promise of the aroma is fulfilled, though it wasn't that grand to begin with. Some caramel. Enjoyable. Decently balanced. All around, the build isn't great but it's pretty good. No layering is present, nor is any discernable complexity. This is a simple black lager.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit creamy. Not too thick nor too thin. Suits the flavours generally.

Dr: Drinkable but largely unremarkable. I'd have it again on an 'every once 'n' then', but it's not great. Fans of the style will enjoy it, but it's far from unique or special. Don't go out of your way to track this one down, lads.


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Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color lager with a large dirty brown foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sumptuous black coffee with some dry roasted malt notes is really enjoyable. Taste is a very nice mix between some dry coffee notes and some roasted malt with some subtle black chocolate notes. Body is full with nice creamy notes and good carbonation and no alcohol. Very well done and perfect representation of the style.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled on 12/20/2011. Pours pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger foamy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing on the glass, with a good amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, caramel, coffee, light char, grass, and herbal. Very nice aromas with nice balance and complexity. Taste of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, herbal, grass, and earth. Lingering notes of cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, herbal, and grass on the finish for a bit. Nice flavor balance, complexity, and robustness; no cloying flavors at all on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium body; with a fairly creamy, chalky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent schwarzbier! Very robust and balanced roasted flavors; extremely smooth and crisp to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of nickfl
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two finger of light tan foam on top of a black body. The head settles at a modate pace and leaves good lace.

S - smoky notes of dry toffee and chocolate.

T - Dry caramel up front with some dark bread. Light molasses in the middle and a finish of smoke, cola, and dry chocolate with herbal hops and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately hi carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, it is a little outside of the traditional German mainstream for the style, but that is to be expected from port. It is perhaps too roasty and smoky for the style but still white drinkable in the end.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
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...

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, dark roasted malts, lager yeast, some chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and a little smoky as you would expect, with flavors of black coffee and dark chocolate, with a strong and hearty background of lager yeast. There's a mild hops presence that brings some balance but overall, the flavors don't seem to mess as well as they should. The after-taste is bready and bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this beer has all of the characteristics to make it a sessionable dark lager, but I think that there are more flavorful beers in that category.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.09/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer is very dark amber, almost black in color and pours with a two finger tan head with large bubbles in it. The head dissipates rather quickly leaving little retention but does exhibit some lacing on the glass.

S: Very little smell to this beer at all but what I could detect was a slight aroma of dark malts, the smell intensifies slightly as the beer warms but I find it lacking.

T: Dark roasty malts are the highlight in the taste but not a strong/intense flavor. Very little bitterness in this beer.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Not a great example of the style and nothing special about this beer in particular though it is quite sessionable.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Hop Angel Brauhaus, Philly, PA

Tasty black lager. Pours a nice opaque black with a finger of tan head. Nice roasty aroma, nutty, with some coffee bitterness. Similar taste, big roasty malts, coffee and cocoa, and a touch of raisin. Smooth, medium mouthfeel, and highly drinkable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark and light bodied beer. Attractive head and lacing galore. A lot of the scorched malt taste. Feathery light, though, and makes an interesting contrast with the marshmallowy mouthfeel and the big dark roast taste. Well carbonated, almost creamy on the tongue. A lot of sour burnt flavors. Barely a hit of malty sweetness. Fainbt hint of caramel and roasted barley in the nose.

22 oz bottle from Windmill Farms market. Quite drinkable, but definitely on the blackened side of the flavor profile.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of billab914
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this in a shipment from Southbay. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. Pours black with a ruby tint to it where the light strikes the sides of the glass. Poured with a big fluffy two finger white head. Good head retention and moderate lacing.

Aroma is big and roasty, a lot more roasty then I expected from other Schwartzbier's I have had. There is also a grainy more lager-ish aroma that comes through that helps it keep with style.

The taste is just as roasty as the nose suggests, the coffee and bitter chocolate are the dominant flavor on the palate. As I said before it's definitely more roasty then I expected but it tastes very good. I would probably say if someone likes stouts and porters they would like this beer.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it has a lot of the things I love about a stout or porter but lighter more drinkable while still being full flavored.

Overall this was a very well made beer, I can't say how to "style" it was being so dominant in the coffee and chocolate flavors but it doesn't really matter to me as long as it is good. This actually reminds me a lot of some Duck Rabbit beers, maybe the porter.

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Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
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

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this one from Joey, as I am always excited for new port offerings, and the fact that this one is designed to be sessionable, well that would just be the icing on the cake. The bottle looked great, and I grabbed this one out of the fridge yesterday as I finished up mowing the lawn.

Appearance - Solid look from the very beginning, with a thick, black, and nearly opaque liquid presented in front of me. This was looking big for a session lager already. A nice two-inch high head of tan lace formed on the top and hung around for a good few minutes before finally settling down and leaving a nice chocolate colored crown across the top throughout the session. Very nice side glass presentation as well, really showing off nicely here.

Smell - The aroma was a beauty as well. Rich roasted malts and a smoky sort of peat like smell coming through off of this one right way. Very rich with a touch of bitterness-hidden way in the back, I had a feeling this was going to be good now. Very nice earthy and grassy touches throughout as well, with a touch of molasses maybe as it warms up.

Taste - The flavor was huge for a lager, I was shocked by how thick this one tasted. If you have had the Serpents, you can tell right away that the two are related, as the malt flavor is very similar, especially in the front. Rich chocolate like flavor almost coming through in the beginning and then turning over to a more roasted and smoke like flavor. Lots of different earthy tones here were coming together rather nicely. A touch of caramel or molasses like sweetness in the middle and some of the bittering effects in it towards the end. The finish was quick and clean with a nice smoke flavor in the finish, albeit lighter then what you would typically think of a smoked flavor being.

Mouthfeel - A nice rich medium to light bodied lager, the flavor is definitely much bigger then the feel is. Very nice carbonation never really letting it feel dull in anyway, instead it has a nice full feeling, but at the same time very sessionable.

Drinkability - Speaking of sessionable, wow, for something with such a big palate it was very drinkable and light even at times. No ABV concerns here. Very nicely done and the perfect thing to sit around at night and drink.

Overall, I thought this one was outstanding. One of the lighter of the brews for LA and it still works very well. I could easily see myself drinking this on more then one occasion and I ma glad I bought a few more to enjoy. A quality ale here for sure that I would have to recommend you to pick up.

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Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few cases where I prefer the bottled version over the on-tap one.

Near black color, but bright light shines through the edges. Beige head leaves a curtain of streaky lace.

The predominate smell is burnt white toast. First impression of the taste is affected by the thin body. The flavor matches the smell with lots of burnt bread notes. The aftertaste is dry and short. Overall, it reminds me of a strong, dark Euro lager.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black, as one would expect from the name, with a thin mocha colored head.

S: Chocolate, nuts, a bit of coffee, and the roasted malt.

T: Very roasted/toasted flavor, a bit of coffee bitterness, and a mild sweetness at some points.

M: Kind of light in body, but a lot more punch than a typical lager.

D: Good drinkability, as you would expect from a lager.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.98/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 02/20/12 notes. Picked this up the day before in Middletown, NJ for $7.99. 22 oz. bottle into a tulip. Bottled on 12/20/12, so 2 months prior.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of light tan head and light carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of roasted malts, a bit smokey, chocolate, coffee, some nuts, and some light vanilla or cream. Pretty good, nothing dominates or is too strong here.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, light coffee, and light chocolate or cocoa. Taste isn't bad at all, but is very weak and very bland. A major step down from the nose.

m - Light body and low carbonation. Body is smooth and easy to drink, but a bit watery which brings it down a bit.

o - Overall an okay beer, but not Port's best offering. Bosy is a bit thin and the taste is a bit bland. Wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Somewhere between cola and black. A thin, soft, light brown head. Looks like a stout.

S - A strong bouquet of mineral aromas; smells of bitter, metallic mineral water. Some honey sweetness and dry roasted grain.

T - Definitely bitter, dry roasted, dark grains. Strong presence of charcoal and burnt wood. Is also nutty and grainy, like a bran muffin. It tastes like it was made from rich, raw mineral water. Mild, semi-sweet chocolate powder adds some sweetness before it finishes pretty dry.

M - For all of this flavor going on, it's quite smooth and drinkable. Typical of a schwarzbier, and that's why I love them. A rocking session beer.

O - I got this 1 pint 6 oz bottle for $2.99 at my local beer store, Jack's Wine Sense. Can't beat that.

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Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
3.9 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
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