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 spicelab
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber thanks to Beermasons.

Chocolate brown on the pour, near black in the glass. Very sizable tan head falls gradually leaving the odd fleck of lace, and a healthy final film. Good lacing upon swirling.

Nicely refined pungent and creamy roast character. Espresso, cola, chocolate fudge, nutmeg, marzipan and some buttery hints. Pretty amazing.

Taste lacks the punch and depth of the nose unfortunately. Lots of bittersweet dark chocolate and black coffee, but don't quite get the richness and complexity from the nose

Creamy but light mouthfeel, with late bitterness that lingers nicely.

Super drinkable and approachable Schwarzbier that would definitely be a go-to if I didn't live 12,000 kms away.

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black body, one finger head, that dies quickly. Little lacing.

Aromas of roasts and caramel.

Taste is WOW! I know this style should feature roast malts but I think someone left them in the oven all night. Burnt flavours are left, with some coffee hints. Intensely bitter flavours more in line with a Big Stout.

All in all a 'surprise'. Not a session beer, even at 5%

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Photo of ADZA
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark as night kola hue which leaves a two finger bubble laden khaki laced head and sporadic clingy lacing,the smell is dark roasted malts,dark cocoa,roasted expresso and black forest cake,the mouthfeel is nice,light and very sessionable with tastes of dark belgian chocolate,black forest cake,burnt toast,molasses,a touch of dark fruit and finished like a nice black roasty expresso and overall i definately would this again and another great lager from this great brewery.

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

Midnight Expressions is a great name for a beer this dark and shadowy. Indeed, the beer has the black, lightless complexion of a winter's night sky and an inundating head awash against the glass like high tides during a full moon. While it doesn't cover the entire the surface, the colour of that foam is distinctly earthy, like dirt-covered mushrooms.

This may be intended as a schwarzbier, but it smells more bold and full-flavoured than any German lager I know (with respects to this style, that is). The closest thing to 'German' this comes is black forest cake; there's enough chocolate fudge, cold coffee and yet more bittersweet chocolate shavings to easily entertain notions of porter or stout.

But the taste, alas, is indeed much lighter. Any impressions of rich coffee and dark chocolate turn out to be premature as this flavour is anything but decadent. Rather it glides across the palate without much impact, too perceptible to call 'watery' but without any harsh roasted notes or lingering bitterness, certainly of that easy caliber drinkability. I'm impressed that Port could restrain sure urges to indulge the profile with bigger, more prolific flavours.

Just as Harry and the Hendersons taught us not to fear Bigfoot, so too this lager should teach the average drinker not to fear dark beer. While it has a little cocoa-y bitterness and some roasted maltiness, it is quite mild and offers the same light, clean quaffability as any golden lager its strength (albeit with a little bit of toffee and sooty, chocolaty aftertaste).

I see why the beer was originally called Moonlit Sessions - it's the kind of thing you could stay up drinking until way past your bed time. This may arguably be the most agreeable, widely approachable offering this side of the colour spectrum - that's what you get combining a German brewer's engineering with the ingenuity and skills of a true American artisan.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black with a tight, pillowy tan head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of dry roasted notes.

Tastes of the roasted notes. Starts off with some coffee and finished with a molasses and bread character. Slightly sweet, but finishes dry. Has a bit of a sourness to it that I find pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with a slightly crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, I find it to be quite good and is another great addition to the Port lineup.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of jsanford
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Tumbler. Bottled 12/17/10.

A - Pours a dark black with slight brown highlights and a creamy, 1-inch head of mocha-colored foam that settles to a thick cap. Very Stout-like.
S - Dark roasted flavors of malt, coffee, and chocolate with a touch of cream and sugar.
T - Very similar to the nose, lots of dark malt, chocolate, and coffee. Flavors linger for some time on the palate, especially the bitter hops.
M - Slightly watery, with a medium-thin body and fairly sharp carbonation.
O - Moderately drinkable, but not something I'd go out of my way for again.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber to black in color with a tan head. In the aroma, malty and hints of caramel. In the taste, caramel, chocolate notes, and a hint of coffee, quite porter like. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry coffee and chocolate aftertaste. More of a porter than lager and/ or schwartzbier with the big coffee/ chocolate roast, but nice nonetheless.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

545th Review on BA
Bottle to pilsner
22 oz

App-  Big dark pour with a one finger head.  A bit of a frothy light brown.  Nice lines of lace.  

Smell-  Roasty notes and a bit of fresh ground coffee.  Hoppy kick on a big whiff.

Taste-  Where did the spice come from?  This is a little bitter as well.  Pretty tasty with some off balance moments

Mouth-  Medium bodied and medium carbonated.  This is pretty wet drinking with some nice hop flavors

Drink-  A little bit different than I thought. Tasty, malty and a little dark hops.  Unexpected flavors but probably not coming back.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, but nothing special. Head is nice chocolate color. No lacing or tiering on this one...

S - Very roasty with some slight funk going on... Smells super chocolaty. There's also a slight hop bite in this one.

T - Very nice and delivered. Chocolaty and roasty with some slight smokey tones. Smell throws off the taste.

M - Very light and smooth. Slightly bitter and uneven. Heavy bodied for the style.

O - Quite a good brew for the style. A bit all over the place, but still a good brew. Thanks for the great trade ShogoKawada

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Photo of Chaney
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Currently #7 in the Schwarzbier category on BA.

A: Pitch black, with a greater than massive peppery brown head, that was only a shade or two lighter than the liquid below it. Great retention!

S: Fresh toasty toast, with malt spread on top! Mildly sweet, but with a refreshing quality.

T: I swear I almost tasted cocoa, but not any sort of caramel-like agent (to make this taste like a porter or stout). Somewhat bitter on the finish, but I could I tell it was lagered, mainly because of the...

M: This is what separated this one from a porter. Not thick, and definitely went down with the greatest of ease. However, the lingering bitterness is what kept it from become a true, summer day brew.

O: I picked this one up on a whim and it didn't disappoint. I plan on trying this style a lot more throughout the summer.

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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 emmasdad
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bomber a jet black color, with a creamy light brown head on top. Aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate and smoke. On the palate, this one was medium bodied and fairly crisp, with flavors of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, nuts and smoke.

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Photo of soze47
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 22 oz. bomber is over a year old, but it was on sale for $4 at one of my regular shops. I used to enjoy getting a Leinies Creamy Dark when I lived in WI, so I was intrigued to see what Port (makers of some of my favorite hop-forward styles) would do with it.

Appearance: Black and brown, depending on how much light is behind it. Very tight, creamy head that is thick on the pour, but dissipates into a nice loose creamy looking swirls.

Aroma: Roasty and toasty. Only hints of sweetness that creates an almost grilled/charred sweet potatoes, in a good way.

Taste: You get almost almost porter and brown ale qualities in the malt. Simultaneously toasted, roasted, nutty, tones of creamy coffee, some char, and a hint of cocoa. However, there is a good amount of a dry bit that you'd expect in a lager. I think it has a little to due with the hops, but there is almost a perfect pleasant bite that helps cut the malt bill.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The carbonation stay below the surface here, but it does its job. While you can't really see it, the bubbles help keep a potentially unpleasant burned taste from sitting down to hard. It gives the beer a nice creamy quality that helps make the flavors soften and meld. That being said, it is very drinkable and not at all filling.

Overall: I like this beer. Good for the style. Can't say that I'm a Schwarsbier enthusiast, but if I'm in the mood I'll look for this guy again.

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

Bottle from BevMo in San Francisco

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is mostly of dark roasted malts with only the slightest bit of hops quite the opposite of what I'm used to from Port

T - Like the smell lots of roasted malt upfront with some mild hops in the finish

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - Generally Black Lagers don't do too much for me but I'm really enjoying this one I like the flavor profile and the abv point makes this a very good beer one that's worth getting if you seeit around

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Photo of mjyoung
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank 4/25/11. Split w/ bbb099

A: A rich, dark color that isn't quite opaque, but still gives the impression of heft. A thick, beige head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Intriguingly simple. Strong notes of roasted malt and the slightest hint of hops. It's not overpowering, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

T: Similar to the nose, but the hops come through a bit more. As it warms it gets a bit sweeter, with almost a hint of butterscotch. Tasty.

M: Good carb, and very smooth. Pretty nondescript though.

O: Very smooth and easy drinking. I wish I hadn't shared the bottle, as I could have done the whole thing! Precisely what I was looking for tonight.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic. Slow pour yeilds two-three fingers worth of frothy beige head the hangs around forever. Superb retention and huge chunks of lacing left behind on the glass. Beer looks pitch black with only the slightest hues of rudy brown at the outermost edges. A fantastic looking brew.

Smells of light cocoa, dark roast, and hints of coffee. A touch of earthy hoppiness is buried in there as well.

Chocolate, a great subtle (not overpowering) roast characteristic, light notes of dark fruits, subtle earthy hops, then light notes of espresso. Earthy and fruity finish.

Mouthfeel is superb, cream smooth, light, and refreshing. Spot on.

My favorite dark lager that I have tried. Supremely session-able, and refreshing. I'm kinda bummed I never gave this a try before, because I think it's gonna be a new staple in my regular line up.

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

I picked this beer up at Greens Liquor on Ponce De Leon in Atlanta.

Appearance: Pours a very dark black color with a tan head, which is a bit dark for a Schwarzbier. The head was a solid 1/2" after a reserved pour. It was around for a good minute and then faded back to end up as a pretty solid film across the top of the whole beer.

Aroma: The aroma is really malty, but has a bit more chocolate and caramel than a typical Schwarzbier. There is some pretty evident hops in this beer too which also is a bit unusual for the style. There is a solid amount of roast present, and is becoming more evident as it warms.

Taste: The flavor is not quite as balanced toward the dark malts as I thought they would be. There is a lot of chocolate in here, and it is coming across as both bitter cocoa and as sweet chocolate. The hops are a big player in the flavor of this beer, but let up for the finish. Overall the body is medium with ample carbonation.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good drinking beer. I am VERY hard-pressed to call this a Schwarzbier. It is a mostly malty beer with some toasty notes and other components that make up a Schwarz, but there isn't enough toasty notes to push it over to a Schwarzbier. It is really rich, so is more like a mild Porter fermented with a Lager yeast or something. Again, it is a good beer, but don't go looking for a Schwarzbier with this one.

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

Poured from the bottle a deep, dark brown with light cola-colored highlights and a two fingers of rich mocha head.

Aroma of roasted caramel malts, dark ripe fruit, molasses and coffee.

Dark ripe fruit upfront followed bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts and smokey grains. The smokey bitterness lingers through the finish.

Light-to-medium bodied, smooth and moderately carbonated.

I really enjoyed this one from Port.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appears black with a big, rocky tan head. Nice lacing.

Its primary aroma is of roasted pumpernickel bread and grains. There are also faint notes of chocolate and coffee.

On the palate, roasted dark grain is at the forefront. Very representative of a black lager/schwarzbier. Malts are prominent but not super powerful. Hops are not that present, as expected. Taste is short and a faint bitterness lingers just enough to make you want another sip fast.

Well carbonated aids a great mouthfeel. And the drinkability on this puppy is sky high.

This brews taste is confident and solid, yet delicate and restrained. A great schwarzbier that definitely respects the style's heritage. I'd buy it again for sure.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is rich and smoky with undertones of malt, molasses, yeast and coffee - very like a good stout or porter. It pours a near-opaque sable with a thick, fluffy, fairly persistent light tan head. Flavor is mainly malty with an undertone of roast coffee and hints of molasses. Texture is fizzy as cola, dancing on the tongue and all the way down.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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