Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Port Brewing Midnight Sessions

In case you haven't read my blog before, or in a while, let me just say: I love Port Brewing.  I love the names, the beer, the attitude, and I love that they started with a pizza and beer place.  In honor of opening this Midnight Sessions, which has been sitting in my fridge for quite a while, I've ordered a pizza from Dagwoods to go with; half Woody's, half Greek, should be delicious. 
For those that may not have read my posts about Black Lagers before, here's a little review.  The Black Lager is basicaly an American take on the German "Schwarzbier."  Schwarzbier sounds like something they might have drank in Spaceballs and while I won't rule that out, Shwarzbier literally just means "black beer."  It's a fairly simple description for what actually is a fairly complex lager.  A good Schwarzbier is going to be a dark brown, bordering on black, yet should still have a very light body; being a lager helps with that.  The goal is to drive out all the fruit flavors and have nothing other than roasted malt flavor and a bit of hops. 

The aromas have a distinct roasted malt flavor.  It's a deep smell with hints of salty sea air and a dry body.  The head lacks a tremendous amount of retention, but it's a good amount for the pour.  The color is extremely dark, bordering on black.  It's only when you hold it to the light that you can catch the subtle amber and brown tones.  The first part of your sip is a load of carbonation with a distinct taste of bitters.  As it opens up it becomes a concentrated blend of roasted grains and coffee, but is supported the whole way by that thin undercurrent of bitterness.  Oh hell yes, the pizza is here, looks amazing.  Here you go, you get to share the experience a bit. 

So back to the beer.  Hints of chocolate in the grains, a beautiful mix with the coffee, but a totally different experience than a coffee stout because of the light body.  As it finishes, the coffee and hops take over leaving a lovely rich bitterness on your tongue.  My only complaint on this beer is that its mouthfeel is so carbonated that it borders on soda like quality.  But otherwise it's a solid black lager.  The coffee addition is brilliant and mixes perfectly with the choice of hops and roasted grains.  Nicely done Port!

Midnight Sessions: ****1/2

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