Midnight Expression | Pizza Port Solana Beach

very good
373 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 301-325 | 326-350 | 351-375  | next → last
Ratings: 373 |  Reviews: 245
Photo of bosco7
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 555 characters

Photo of jamie2dope
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
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

 748 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

 1,333 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 767 characters

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Port Brewing Moonlit Sessions Lager
22oz. brown bomber

First of all, by the name and style of lager, I originally thought it would be like Full Sail Session...when I poured into my snifter and saw a dark brew, I was delighted.

A: poured into a snifter. the beer pours an impenetrable black/dark mahogany. No head at all on top, besides a haze of tan swirls. Lack of a head is the reason for the low score.

S: almost smells like a stout. Rich roasted dark malts are the lead, which I pulled coffee, toffee, some figs and raisins as well. A mild hint of chocolate, but very faint.

T: Wow...I now have a total understanding as to why Tomme is the fucking man. This is by far the most amazing schwarzbier I have ever tasted, and probably ever will. Deep and intense roasted dark malts, almost make this taste like a stout or a porter. Chocolate and coffee tones are the major flavors. This is a very sweet/malty version of this style. Some light hints of dark fruits like fig and cherry.

M: carbonation was a little light, but it enhanced the malts in my opinion. The most full bodied schwarzbier ever!

D: at 5% and the amazing flavor, this beer is a great "session" brew. extremely drinkable.

 1,196 characters

Photo of bennetj17
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice black color with a thin tan head. The carbonation doesn't appear too active. Roasty, mostly unsweetened nose of coffee malt and ash.

Full roasted malt flavor, with alot of sharp bitterness that lingers well. Again here it is not sweet with maybe just a hint of chocolate in the background. It seems to be more intensely toasty/bitter than other Schwarzbiers I've tried. Clean, but lots of flavor for 5% ABV.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, with moderate carbonation. It's not heavy so it goes down pretty well.

I like this beer, and while I could drink several pints in a sitting, it might be wise to change it up as the flavor gets a bit one dimensional after while. Overall: Recommended...

 700 characters

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

Picket this one up at Beverage Warehouse...the last bottle in the store. Good timing I guess.

A: Really dark, looks almost like a porter. Not much head but pitch black.

S: Fresh crips lager malt scent, but quite a bit of toastiness to the scent as well. Bit of coffee, again, smells like a basic porter.

T: Rich roasted malt and coffee, with just a touch of hops give this a light but well rounded flavor. The finish is quite toasty.

MF: Much lighter than it looks, borders on watery but don't think I would go that far.

D: Pretty good, light alcohol and light feel make this sessionable, for sure. Flavor is pretty basic but solid. Don't have anything to compare this to, the closest I can get is a basic porter, and this is probably as good as any of those I've had. Doubt I would rush out to get this again (not that I'd be able to find it anyway), but a decent brew.

 876 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this 22oz bomber at the Glendora BevMo for $3.50 and poured it into an imperial pint glass.
Has a inky black color befitting the style and a modest 3/4in tan head that quickly settled down to a thin skim and left no lace.
Nose was somewhat subdued with aromas of roasted grains, coffee and hints of dark fruit.
Taste was sweet; the initial flavor was that of dates or prunes quickly followed up by the edgier bite of espresso and burnt grains. Finished nicely with a smoooth hops bite on the back of the tongue.
Feel started off medium-bodied and a bit chewy but ended a tad thin.
Overall, a nice take on the style. At 5.0%ABV, it's definitely got the makings of a good session beer.

 693 characters

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.

 2,563 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle purchased at Cooke's in El Segundo for four dollars, bottle said the ABV was 5%, split with my dad last night, poured into my Firestone pint glass

A-Almost black but very dark brown, thin 1/4 inch creamy light tan head that did not stick around long, not much retention or lacing

S-Roasted grains and barley, coffee, burned sugar, some chocolate, half and half, some hoppiness, little spice, and faint maple syrup

T-Taste did not change much when the temperature changed and was consistently good and refreshing, first taste is the roasted malt and slight espresso, then some chewiness in the middle but rather thin and light, some dryness in the finish with a few hops and dark cocoa mixed in, nicely balanced and did not lack flavor like many schwarzbiers tend to do, nice new beer overall

M-Roasty and dry mouthfeel, not as much carbonation as I was expecting, thin body, taste lingered for a minute or two

D-Do not let the darkness fool you because this one is light on the stomach, alcohol percentage is low, smooth, easy to drink, would make a nice session beer like the title infers

Glad to see Port took a break from making all the strong beers and thought about some light stuff for once, not that anything they have ever done has been bad, will be drinking this again, good beer at a great price, recommended

 1,340 characters

Photo of ncvbc
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pretty much pitch black. Nice tan head rises up and falls to a ring. Not much lacing, not much expected. Smell is big and roasted, big grainy scent as well. Some hugely roasted coffee scents...and like the guy below me said, burnt popcorn! It's not offensive but it's there. A little sweetness underneath. Taste is excellent and better than expected. Not so roasty as I thought it would be. In fact, a pleasant hop presence is underneath the malt. At first it's roasted coffee flavors...descending to a great chocolate flavor, almost milk chocolate. Then a slight bitter/roasty finish. Considering the Stout-like flavors this one has a light mouthfeel, again as it should. Light, moderate carbonation, easy down. I would probably enjoy a couple bombers...hot summer day, cool winter's eve...whatever the occasion. This is a beer that fits in several scenarios and I wouldn't mind it in any of them. Yummy...I'd like more.

Thanks to seaoflament for another great trade...time to get to a couple from the first! :-)

 1,020 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle from Joey.

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic.

Pours a full black with a creamy one finger tan head that quickly dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. Stickiness is very minimal, but some is there. Smell is of roasted grains, smoked barley, and some burnt popcorn. There are weak chocolate and caramel malt aromas in the nose as well. Taste is bitter coffee grinds and charred grains. Bitter earthy hops and scorched marshmallows on the tongue as well. Such a flavorful lager, perfect for this time of year. Somewhat dry and smokey in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light and soft with a steady carbonation. What a perfect session beer. Lots of flavor which leaves the taste buds begging for more. I wish I had more lower abv. beers like this in my fridge.

 771 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pricy $4.99 at La Bodega in Riverside, CA. in April, 2008 for a 22 ounce bomber. I've read of $3.50-$3.99 elsewhere, so this price hurts (but it's cheaper than driving to OC!).

Pours a solid black black, thin to no head, and no trace of carbonation. A micro head came with a vigorous pour, but it quickly passed to nothingness.

Aroma is actually thin too- not much there. Some roastiness, a bit of coffee, and that's about it.

However, it tastes pretty good. The coffee is the dominant flavor, toasted roasted grains almost get to the point of smoky. A moderate hop ending make for a nice swallow.

Mouthfeel and drinkability of this one are the strongest points. They call this one a session beer, and that's a great name for it.

 736 characters

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

I spotted this at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, California. I'm always on the lookout for new Pizza Port and Lost Abbey offerings. Cost about 3.50.

I didn't realize this was a schwarzbier, and was expecting a lighter lager. I was quite surprised when it poured a dark brown with a big tan head.

The smell is roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of chocolate. This is a lager? The taste is bold with roasted malt, more coffee, and maybe a bit of residual malt and chocolate sweetness. It's major flavor component is definitely bitter. Somewhat surprising in every respect. If I had this blindfolded, I would have thought I was drinking a light-bodied porter.

Interesting brew.

 670 characters

Photo of tayner
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle

Poured very dark, nearly black with a tan colored head that was nice and foamy and then settled to about 1/4 inch for the remainder of the pint.

Smell was of roasted grains, coffee, burnt sugar, and a touch of spicy hop.

Taste followed smell pretty much starting out with some charred/very roasted grains, almost a husk flavor in them, followed with bitter coffee, and some burnt sugar sweetness with a finish of a slightly spicy hop, just enough to dry the palate.

Well carbonated, and thin mouthfeel. This wouldnt work for a stout or porter, but for a session lager it has a great mouthfeel. I think because it is a dark beer with a lot of the same flavors associated with stouts and porters people forget it isnt one and doc the mouthfeel for being too thin.. but that is why i like this one. A true 5% abv session beer that is full of flavor with out the alcohol to limit me to one. I could easily session this one all night, and at $3.99 a bomber it gets a good drinkability mark for me.

 1,012 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black, with a thin tan head with fair retention and no palpable lacing.

S: Strong roasted malts, a bit of creamy coffee.

T: Strong char bitterness upfront, with a bit of lactic acidity as the beer warms. Hops are quite light, with a bit of a spicy bite. Could definitely use some more sweetness.

M: Full-bodied, nice carbonation, oily, but has a clear lightness about it overall.

D: Kind of a disappointment from Port, at the end was not really enjoying this one, a fair effort.

 507 characters

Photo of Tdizzle
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Vendome Fullerton.

A- Poured into an imperial pint glass, this beer appears black with a generous chocolate milk head that settles to a thin layer, leaving some sparce lacing on the glass.

S- Very pronounced aromas of creamy milk chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, espresso, and molasses. There are some hops in the background too.

T- Big roasted malts and coffee up front, leaving a very mild hop bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M- Smooth and creamy, but also light in the mouth with mild carbonation.

D- Considering the 5% ABV and the creamy but not heavy mouthfeel, this is a really rich and flavorful beer that is very sessionable.

Highly recommended.

 683 characters

Photo of srroos
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber bought at Walnut Liquorette, poured into a pint glass. Dark, opaque black with an ample brown head. Good chocolate and coffee aroma and flavors. Medium-light bodied, and very drinkable. Went through the whole bomber before I knew it! I wish I had more!

 264 characters

Photo of throwitallaway
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Bought from South Bay Liquor. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Dark with a small brown head. Smells of chocolate and coffee. But in a soft way, not like a stout. Tastes exactly like it smells. Chocolate at first, then coffee, finishing with a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is unfortunately on the thin side. Not a complex beer by any means, but extremely pleasant and very easy to drink.

 393 characters

Photo of rallison
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Weibull for giving me this beer as a wonderful extra - you are a good man!

Pours a beautiful dark black (definitely one of the darker schwarbiers I have had) with a nice 1/2 finger tan head that leaves some tasty looking lacing.

So how's the smell? Wow. I've never had this style smell so roasty and chocolate-y. Hints of dark fruit seem to reside in the background.

And moving on...the taste. Delicious. Dark fruits, roasted malts, espresso and some hints of dark chocolate on top of a relatively light malt body (although pretty thick for the style). The flavors here are incredible for this style. I'm not convinced a lager yeast was used here (and if not, this is most definitely not a schwarzbier), but I do enjoy the beer regardless.

Mouthfeel is thick for the style, but quite drinkable. Carbonation is low to medium. Drinkability, as mentioned, is quite good.

Recommended. I need to find out if this is a true schwarzbier (instincts say no), but at 5% this makes for a really flavorful session beer. This is most definitely worth a try.

 1,059 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour produces an almost three-finger thick, well browned, tan colored crown of froth. The beer is an opaque, solid black color that allows no light to come through even when held up directly to the light. Hugely roasted aromatics dominate the nose of this brew; a mix of toasted malt, light espresso (deeply roasted coffee and some light burnt acidity), roasted saltine crackers, toasted whole grain bread. While the roast character is huge in the aroma, it never gets out of control or harsh, and the cracker / bread malt notes are just so inviting and appetizing. A big part of this whole grain cracker character probably comes from the fact that this is from the second runnings of Serpent Stout; it doesn't get astringent in the aroma though.

Smooth tasting and almost devoid of sweetness, large roast character, but a very light beer until you get to the long finish where the malt character sticks to the palate. This beer is most definitely defined by the massive roast character; this tastes burnt, with notes of French Roast coffee, blackened malt, deeply toasted whole-grain crackers & rustic bread, and overly caramelized / blackened maltose all without taking on the strong harshness that so much roast grain could cause (obviously Tomme cares about his mash PH). The burnt acidity here is quite restrained and adds just enough for a nice balancing effect and the sharp, astringent, burnt grain husk character is almost non-existent.

As the beer warms up a bit the malt character picks up a bit of richness, roundness and adds more texture to the body of this brew. It is of course still quite quaffable, but the residual grain sugars start to have a little more influence without adding much sweetness to this brew. The roast character is just too big for any sweetness to come into play. The second pour injects some more carbonation which accents a burnt acidity, so I definitely prefer this with a slight carbonation (luckily a few quick swirls of my glass get this to the right level).

A really nice beer, I am definitely enjoying that this beer does not have any overly harsh flavors, especially since it has such a huge roast character & is the second runnings of a mash. Somehow instead of creating astringent grain husk notes, the fact that this is from the second runnings of Serpents Stout, has given this brew a really interesting, whole grain, cracker character (both in the nose and in the flavor). A superb beer that I can't wait to get more of next year. I could wish that this became a regular part of their line up, but I think that the character would change quite a bit if it did not come from the second runnings, but maybe it would get better. Speaking of which, Serpents Stout is going to have a hard time being more enjoyable than this.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

 2,823 characters

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

Picked up a bomber of this today from South Bay Drugs and Liquor.

Pours really dark and roasted, like black coffee. A two inch head of foam quickly forms and trickles down slowly but settles to about ¾ of an inch and holds there for a while. Finally after about 3-4 minutes the foam settles to a thin layer, very nice.

Great roasted aroma. Immediately I get some roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, toasted oats and granola. It has a nice roasted aroma but without the bitterness of roasted barley. Some warm milk and milkshake aromas come out as well. A touch of dry grain too. As it warms up I detect some cocoa and a few notes of caramel.

Very smooth tasting. A nice balance of milk chocolate and coffee with hints of roasted and chocolate malts. There's also a good dose of toast and just a hint of bitterness in the finish.

Mouth-feel is thin but adequate for this type of beer. It has some flavor but it's refreshing at the same time. At only 5% and thin on the palate this one is easy to gulp down! This one would be a nice session beer, and I'm in need of more of these.

Probably the best black lager I've had so far.

 1,133 characters

Photo of Stoneman78
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Lost Abbey, made from the second runnings of the mashed grains from Serpents stout . . .

Appearance is pitch black hue, minimal head and lacing

Smell is moderate coffee/espresso malts, hints of chocolate, roast, subtle grassy hops in the background

Taste is a nice blend of coffee and roast malts with grassy bitter hops, lager yeast and nuts peek through and the roast borders on a smoky sensation, finishes bitter

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, creamy and smooth texture, mild carbonation

Drinkability is moderate, this is a solid lager from LA with a good malt profile, big coffee/roast/smoke works well for this style, the alcohol is well-masked, this hints at the quality and body the Serpents Stout will bring

 739 characters

firstprev| 301-325 | 326-350 | 351-375  | next → last
Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
3.9 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.