Craft beers don't always have to be expensive. Credit: Dan D'lppolito
I take advantage of the craft beer craze in Manhattan - the varieties keep my taste buds dancing. Each season brings new brews and a new favorite. Two beers worth checking out this summer are Hacker Pschorr Weisse with slight hints of banana and clove and Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale. This raspberry beer isn't too sweet and is smooth enough to drink all night long. If you like stouts, try Shock Top Chocolate Wheat. The taste is a combination of caramel and chocolate but finishes like a Guinness.
Craft beers can be pricey but there are a few bars that I visit to discover new breweries at a decent price. All of these bars change taps often and offer tasting nights from visiting breweries.
Rattle n Hum (14 East 33rd Street): This bar offer 40 beers on tap and delicious burgers and wings. They have the best Thai chili wings ($10) I've ever had. Brunch on weekends is $12.95 and includes a free mimosa or Bloody Mary. If you visit Monday through Friday from 11am-7pm, you'll score $5 select drafts, wine and well drinks. It's also a great choice to watch sporting events with plenty of tables and a large bar area.
The Pony Bar (637 10th Avenue and 1444 1st Avenue): The Pony Bar has $6 craft beers daily from any of their 20 taps and cask selections. From 4:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m., daily beers are only $5. I usually order the veal meatball sandwich ($10) and the large soft pretzels ($7). The Hell's Kitchen location is more intimate and the Upper East Side spot is great for larger groups. They often have breweries that take over the taps so you can really dig in to a specific brewer.
The Dive Bar (101 W. 75th St., 732 Amsterdam Ave., 2662 Broadway): The three Dive Bars on the Upper West Side offer 20 beers on tap. Domestic drafts start at $4 and craft beers $6. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday you’ll save $2 on drafts. They make absolutely unbelievable homemade sweet potato chips with cinnamon and cayenne pepper ($4). The bartenders are always knowledgeable and they often have live music and tasting events.
Monica DiNatale is a deals expert, food host and author of "365 Guide New York City," a treasure trove of restaurant deals and bar specials in New York. Monica has hosted segments for The New York Chocolate Show and Craft Beer Week Festivals. She dines out 8 days a week in search of the best deals in The Big Apple. "365 Guide New York City" is available in paperback and e-book.