Sam The Beer Man


32 Reviews
Sam The Beer ManSam The Beer Man

Type: Store

1164 Upper Front St
Binghamton, New York, 13905-1119
United States

(607) 724-5225 | map

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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 48
Photo of tone77
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Spending a few days in Binghamton, so I thought I would check this place out. Kind of a small store with lots of macro cases, but plenty of craft beer as well. Lots of 6 packs, a singles section, some imports as well. Prices seemed a tad on the high side. Service was friendly and helpful. Overall, I wasn't blown away by it, but if I lived nearby, I would be a regular customer.

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Photo of LuckFreeZone
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped there for the first time today. The man working there seemed knowledgable both about beer in general and what was and was not available in the store (and where things were . . . which was helpful as the arrangements were not immediately obvious). Prices were good. If this was the only beer store in thirty miles of me I would be content.

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Photo of DerelictPI
5/5  rDev +20.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is great! The staff has given me good recommendations and steered me away from some poor choices. They get in some great stuff, try their best to make as many people happy as possible, and are good to talk to about beer. This year's BCBS release was on point!

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Photo of marcfromphilly
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

I come from PA up to Binghamton roughly once or twice a month. Across the whole Southern Tier, this (to my knowledge) is the best beer spot around. Lots of heavy hitter breweries (Prairie, Perennial, Grimm, Singlecut, Almanac) among many others. Truly a great and vast selection that anyone with even the most discriminating palate will find a good beer here. Go here if you can.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Cool. A place in the triple cities with a decent beer selection that actually sells singles! But not that many. Singles are limited to a few dozen choices.

But a nice selection. Not huge, but they make it count.

Doesn't fill growlers. Sad.

Compare this to the Binghamton Beer Depot, which has a bigger selection, but doesn't do singles at ALL and which has a lot more fluff. Between the two, I could get by in the triple cities. But... thank God I'm from Ithaca.

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Photo of thampel09
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Pretty good stop right off the highway. Friendly staff and have a bunch of goodies from evil twin, jack's abby, westbrook, cigar city, nebco, horse heads, against the grain, crooked stave, dark horse, etc.. Also had a good selection of limit releases like the 12.7oz allagash ones and such. Their prices were solid as well. Definitely worth a stop if your passing through.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

They carry a wide range of brewers, however, you won't find everything from those brewers.
That said, it was well worth my time to ride up from Scranton. Lagunitis, Great Divide, Westbrook,
MBC, Jacks Abby, Firestone Walker are all near impossible to find in my neck of the woods, and
Sam's has 'em all. I'll definitely return...

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Photo of nh2032
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

Updated: They do now offer a mixed six/singles section in the back of the store. Also have had some interesting growler options lately too. 4 taps are listed on a board in the back.

Not sure how I haven't reviewed StBM yet.

Good selection for the Binghamton area, but not even close to what you can find in Ithaca. It also seems this area gets releases about a week later than Ithaca too.

A lot of space devoted to macros, but the standard selection of Belgian and craft bombers and 6 packs. Some of the harder to find options I noticed on my last visit included Founders, Horseheads, Hoppin Frog, and Ballast Point.

The two things that really stand out are the service and the prices. The guys working the register really know their stuff, make good recommendations, and are knowledgeable about upcoming releases. Prices are low - typically the same or even lower than Wegmans.

Worth a stop if you are limited to Binghamton. Best option I have found in the area.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.15/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

If you live in Binghamton or the surrounding area and don't feel like driving all the way up to Ithaca, there are three decent beer stores you can patronize: Sam's, Court St. Beer Depot, and Wegman's. Sam's is the best for a number of reasons.

The atmosphere, honestly, is not great. It's a little ways out of town and it's always pretty busy with people who are picking up bulk macrobrews. If you want to look at the domestic micros, you're kind of sandwiched between a wall of six/four packs and a rack of bombers. Import singles (which I don't really buy, so I don't know how good the selection is) are against the opposite wall. Between those two walls and in the back of the store are the macros.

Sam's is almost like what you'd expect a small distributor's shop to look like. There's a lot going on and a lot of obstacles to avoid, but it's never an unpleasant experience.

I give their service a 4 because one of the employees, a younger guy (Shawn or Sean, I think) is really amicable. He loves to talk about new micros he gets in and he lets you know what he's got coming. He's recommended some really good beers to me, including BORIS and Frangelic Mountain Brown. The other guy who works there is a little curt. He never really wants to chat and generally gives one word answers.

Sam's selection is really good for the area. They have a steady supply of Founders (including their Backstage releases, thanks to Shawn [or Sean]), a lot of Hoppin' Frog, Oskar Blues, Victory, TONS of Great Divide bombers, lots of Brooklyn, Brew Dog, and just about every DFH beer I can think of. I'm giving their selection a 4.5 instead of a 4 because they're really cheap too. I can't think of anywhere else where I can get a four pack of Ten Fidy for only $15, or Brooklyn BCS for only $8. They undercut every other store I've been to in New York.

One of the things that's great about Sam's that doesn't really translate into a rating is that people don't really buy up their micros too much. They've had FBS on the shelf for the last two months and I don't think they'll be running out of Backwoods Bastard anytime soon. Most of what I've bought from there is already 6+ months old, which is really great if you like to cellar beers.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Last visited on 9/22/2011

This is a nice little spot in Binghamton. They have a nice mix of mainstream beer along with a nice craft selection. They carry domestic craft from such breweries as Ithaca, Smuttynose, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Dogfishhead, Saranac, Stone, as well as Belgian & German imports. Everything is priced reasonably for what they carry (found some DFH Punkin for $8.99 - cheapest around). The store is not really well organized, but then again the place isn't all that big so it isn't a chore to find what you want. As for customer service it was non existant until I engaged the dude working the register and then he was able to help me out. Gotta be mindful it seems a lot of their beers are out of date. Overall, not a bad place to search for craft beer in the binghamton area.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The place seems to be mainly geared to BMC products but they do have the best selection of craft beer in the Binghamton Area.

The beers are not organized very well, just big bottles are separate from six packs. Recently added a selection of singles.

The selection is standard fare for craft; DFH, SN, SA, FD. They do have good local selection in Southern Tier, Ommegang, Ithaca, Cooperstown among the NY beers.

Do be careful of out of date beers, although you can find older beers that are great for aging.

Finally they are a great on prices, four packs of DFH are under 14 bucks, where I normally will see them for 14-16.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

I like to stop by Sam's when passing through coming home from Syracuse to PA. Sam doesn't have an overly "huge" selection, however, what they do have is high quality. They have a nice mix of craft brew and the "regular stuff" with the hat being tipped towards the craft brew side. They know what they're talking about and I've found some gems in here that I would have otherwise passed up anywhere else. Pricing is reasonable based on what particular brew you may be purchasing, but otherwise, there's a reason I stop by there EVERY business trip to the area.

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Photo of DigitalTaper
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%

Sam The Beer Man is the really the only place with a big selection of Micro's and Imports (Weggman's excluded). My only issue with Sam's is they never mix up their availability, it's always the same micro's and Belgians. I asked why they don't order any Lambics, Sours and Brett beers besides Lindemans and Roddenboch. They said they couldn't sell them. I let the big guy there know sours/brett's is one of the hottest trends right now and I hope they start to get them. It would be cool if they offered a nice draft selection to fill up growlers. That service is a big hit @ the Ithaca dist.

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Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev -3.6%

I went to this place through recommendations and through Beerfly. From the outside it doesn't look that good, but there are many places like that as we all know.

Amidst the ton of macro stuff, which seems to be what most people are buying, there is a shelf when you walk in mostly of domestic craft bombers. And across the way you'll find all the good 6-packs and Belgians, some in the cold case and some on the regular shelves.

Lots of Ithaca, Middle Ages, Cooperstown, Sly Fox, and other locals. A fairly wide selection, though I was hoping to find bigger bottles of Ithaca stuff, and all they had was White Gold.

Great prices, though that seems to be a trend in this area with craft brews. The guy at Sam's told me the craft brew scene isn't that big here, so I guess it's both good and bad that the prices are so reasonable, but for the customer that always seems like a great thing.

The only thing that I was a little iffy about was the fact that the place was so warm. I'm not sure if they don't have A/C or didn't have it on, or what. And I could care less about me, but all those craft brews sitting on the shelves for those extended hot temperatures can't be good.

Overall, though, I'd go back. I just wasn't as blown away as some people. But for the area, it's one of the better stores for your craft needs.

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Photo of WesWes
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I've been shopping these guys for ten years now and they have only gotten better with age. Short of selling singles (which I have been working on for years) they have the complete package. They offer a great selection of macros and an even better selection of micros. They have just about everything available to this mid sized market.

The help there is outstanding especially since Dustin, the son of the owner, has taken a more authoritative role. He orders most, if not all, of the specialty beers and can offer his personal opinion on most. He's hands on like everyone there. No one is a spectator here. Even Mrs. Fargnoli rolls up her sleeves and helps out. It's a family affair and they care very much about customer service. The prices are some of the best in the upstate area. They also take good care of return customers. They now have a growler wall which is starting to catch on.

I worry about Wegmans' new craft beer section hurting these guys in the long run, but I'll remain loyal to the little guys who actually know what the hell their selling.

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Photo of akorsak
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

We spent the night in Binghamton on the way to Cooperstown and were right down the street from Sam the Beer Man.

Quality: Craft and imports are right up front; kegs and macros in back. The place is easy to find as well, on Rte 11 just north of downtown.

Service: The manager was quite friendly and helpful, offering suggestions from amongst several new cases he was opening (including Kwak). Checking out was easy as well.

Selection: For the most part, the beers are six-packs (or four-packs) only. The upscale imports and domestic bombers were available for single purchase. I grabbed a Creme Brulee, Hop-It, Ithaca TEN and Old Habit and a Rodenbach Grand Cru. Very nice selection. The prices were moderate and in line with what I pay at State Line.

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Photo of ledemie
4.65/5  rDev +12%

I came from the DC area and I was not happy to find out that I will be away from my favorite place to sell beer and the selection was great, but one day going down to DC I saw a Harley store and decided to stop and look around to my surprise I see "Sam's the Beer man" sign, I said let's see what type of Budweiser I am going to find in here :-), well there it was a great selection of Belgium beer right in the front of me, you name it: Chouffe, Unibroue, Omegang, Cordenstok, St Bernadus, Duvel.... and many more, the best surprise was last November, I stop by and to my surprise they had some Jenlain (blonde's and Amber), I grab 4 bottles and at the register, I ask the guy, when did you start carrying that ....he said 2 weeks ago.... I was so delighted, anyway enough with the blah blah, the beer price beats Syracuse Ithaca and Binghamton, this is a good priced beer with a decent selection, and the location is nice right of I81.

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Photo of number1bum
4/5  rDev -3.6%

I've stopped at Sam the Beer Man about 5 or 6 times now. It's right off of 81, very convenient when I'm headed from Syracuse to home in PA, which I do relatively frequently.

I'm glad I haven't reviewed before, because now seems to be a better time, mainly because their selection is starting to expand a bit. I was a little underwhelmed the last few times I've been there. Granted, they have a lot of micros, both six packs (no singles) and bombers/750s, as well as a pretty good selection of imports, but it was all stuff that I could find elsewhere. And what stood out most was not what they carried, but what they didn't. For example, they always had Southern Tier's Jahva, Unearthly and Heavy Weizen, but never any of the limited release stuff.

Until now...yesterday they had the new Gemini and Choklat, and their prices were amazing. $5.99 and $6.99, respectively. That's a theme at Sam the Beer Man - the prices are very, very reasonable. I've no doubt that their selection is unparalleled in the Binghamton area, and is even worth a drive from Northeast PA. And their prices are better than anywhere you'll find elsewhere in central New York for sure. Selection is growing, and I see new stuff there all the time. Still not as good as Party Source in Syracuse, or anywhere close to Beers of the World in Rochester, but a few more imports than Party Source and a solid selection across the board. Prices are outstanding and the guy who is always there is very helpful and friendly. They also have quite a bit of stuff available in cases, if you're into that kind of thing.

All in all, a beer store worthy of a visit if you've not been, and I know I personally will be stopping more often based on price alone.

EDIT: June 08 - selection continues to improve at Sam the Beer Man. They have a much improved imports lineup now and they even have other surprises like Ithaca Excelsior brews, new Southern Tier releases and a few Harpoon 100bbl brews here and there. This place rocks.

ANOTHER EDIT: January '10 - I'm sorry to say that the selection at Sam the Beer Man has plateaued and even declined over the last year or so. They no longer have their connection at Ithaca so they aren't getting Excelsior brews anymore, and my main feeling when I visit here now is disappointment that they don't have more new releases that I'd like to see. Still a solid selection, but nothing more.

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Photo of kevman527
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

By far the best place to get micro brews in the Greater Binghamton area, short of mail ordering from the internet. This is much easier.
The people working there are very courteuous and will take the time to help you with what you are looking for. I am there every other week, picking up a six pack or two, or one of the many variety packs they have. I like the fact they have a shelf of most of the regional beers of the area. I would recommend this place to anyone in the area looking for a place to buy some good beer.

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Photo of Syracusepunk
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Most of the store is cases of non beer geek stuff but the 2 short walls they have are quite good.

One side is mostly Belgians, most of the stuff you would expect and some more unusual finds.

The other wall is mainly US stuff. Again not a ton of room so it's probably why they have no singles/12 oz available.

Most impressed by a rack of 22's with a great mix of Great Divide, Stone and Avery. The first place I have seen Avery in 22's.

Picked up DFH Chataeu Jiahu, Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, Belezebub and Moinette Brune. all very resonably priced considering this is probably the only place with a selection like this for MILES!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.65/5  rDev +12%

Sam The Beer Man - Fargnoli Distributing is a must do for BeerAdvocates spending any amount of time in Broome County. I rated quality and selection 4.5 only because STBM is limited only by it's real estate. It's a relatively small building, but these guys are all about the beer!

They do move a lot of beer for the National/Regional guys. While i risk propagating stereotypic slurs that i have read in other BeerFlys, i will point out that the area is becoming more and more of a "college town".

About half of the floor space is dedicated to Micros and they have a good selection of Belgians. I really like the fact that i can buy single 22 oz bottles of Great Divide, Rogue, Middle Ages and Southern Tier or a case of Anchor Foghorn or six packs of Magic Hat or Weyerbacker and I also have the option of buying fresh growlers of craft brew as well.

They are not too far from the 86/17/81 crossroads. Best in the area.

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Photo of PAYankeeFan
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%

I disagree with the rating below. I bought several single bottles here including Rochefort for $5, Avery Maharaja for $6 and they had singles of Thomas Hardy's 2004 available among the other beers. There was a selection of Belgian singles. Singles of Yeti were available. There was a variety of Bear Repubic bombers. I got a 12 pack sampler of Great Divide. They seem to like Middle Age brewing. They had Stone RIS a few month ago. In the back they have micros on tap and you can get growlers of beers like Arrogant Bastard, Rogue offerings and Victory offerings. The issue is you have to look because the staff are friendly but not beer geek librarian types who jump in to help direct unless you have the time to chat with them. They love beer and are good at matching your tastes but are more down to earth. The macros are here but the micros are noticeable. The prices rock!!!

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Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -22.9%

This place was on the way down the 81. There are often good places listed in beerfly one wouldn't othrewise know about, I don't think this is it. Six packs only, a lmited selection of micro product line. A rough and tumble place, almost like trying to shop for beer in a gas station. Prices were fine for New York State. Just off the highway on exit 30. More of a "what do you want" and load it into your van type of place.Decent selction of Middle Ages 750s, a decent Belgium selection.

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Photo of bklynbeerbaron
4.15/5  rDev 0%

Was in Binghamton on business and saw this place in the BeerFly. Did a little Google Maps, turns out my hotel was right next door to this place. Well, now I just had no excuse not to check this place out, did I?

I ignored the two women buying case upon case of Bud, Michelob and Mike's Hard Lemonade and went straight to the good stuff. And man, this place is loaded with good stuff. Shelves of area and NE micros (Victory, Southern Tier, Middle Ages, Otter Creek, etc.) and a shelf full of imports, hitting all the Belgian, German and English high notes. Fully stocked cooler, too. I could have spent an hour - and a small fortune - here, but ended up grabbing a 12-pack Cooperstown Brewing Co. sampler for $11. Less than a buck a bottle, hard to beat that. Service was helpful, too.

This is a must-stop if you're in the area.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I had read about Sam the Beer Man before on BA and also had friends visit but I had not had the chance to go here until today when I was visiting relatives in Binghamton. What a find. Coming from PA it is nice to be able to get single bottles of quality beer at a very good price. They also fill growlers at a very good price. My brother picked up a growler of Rogue Imperial Stout for $10, not bad. In bottles they had a good selection of Rogue bottles, Bear Republic, Ommegang. They also had a very good selection of Belgian's including Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel, Orval, Brasserie des Rocs, Stille Nacht, Scaldis and several others. In addition to this selection of Belgian's and normal American craft brews they had a good selection of upstate NY beers from Cooperstown, Ithica and others. I grabbed about a case of bottles and six packs in total and will definitely be back for more when visiting family.

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Sam The Beer Man in Binghamton, NY
4.15 out of 5 based on 48 ratings.
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