In a week where the vibes around Tottenham Hotspur were intractably bad, we can probably thank Nottingham Forest for being substantially worse at football. Tottenham hosted Forest after a stretch that saw them dumped unceremoniously from two cup competitions and put together a pretty good overall performance and a comprehensive 3-1 home win that keeps them in the hunt, improbably, for Champions League qualifying finish.
Now look, Forest were baaaaaaaad. That’s not a good team. So why not pick a theme where we celebrate bad things? We’ve done “crappy beer” ratings but not in nearly a decade and not since I’ve been in charge, so it’s time to dust this theme off. American drink a lot of beer. Americans drink a lot of CHEAP beer, and unsurprisingly, a lot of that cheap beer isn’t very good. But there are some decent ones! Just because you’re a miser and don’t want to spring for the Founders’ Kentucky Bourbon Stout or that top shelf barleywine at the store doesn’t mean you have to drink swill. In fact you probably shouldn’t.
Here are my player ratings for Tottenham’s win over Forest to the theme of cheap American beer. No fuckin’ IPAs on this list, we’re going non-craft. And because there are so many of them, there are some ties.
5 stars: Budweiser/Coors Banquet
OK, I’m cheating a bit here, but who cares? You probably have your favorite of the above, but both of these beers are solid, American-style lagers that probably get a lot more crap than they deserve due to their price point and existence of their “Lite” cousins. They’re not pretentious (if anything they trend too far in the other direction towards hipster) they’re just solid, inexpensive, tasty American-style lagers. Nothing on this list is going to knock your socks off, but if someone hands you either of these at a party, you know at least you’re not going to have a bad time.
Richarlison (Community — 4.5): On a day when Conte could’ve benched him for his post-Milan comments, Richy instead got the start and rewarded everyone’s patience. He was heavily involved in everything good Spurs did in the offensive end. Earned a penalty (that, hot take, he should’ve been allowed to convert). And yes, he scored... at least in my heart.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): This was Kane at his best again — playing in others, unselfish, commanding from a slightly deeper position. At the right spot for a vintage Harry Kane Header™ and clinical from the penalty spot.
4 stars: Tecate
In the Mexican-style American beer category, Pacifico has my heart, but Tecate is cheaper and hence gets the nod here. It’s amazing how good and effortlessly drinkable a cold Tecate is, without sacrificing on flavor. Faced with a wealth of options, you know you can’t really go wrong with a can of Tecate.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): There he is. Much more effective against Forest than he has been for the majority of the season. Took his goal well. I’m still afraid he’s over the cliff’s edge, but let’s celebrate when things go right.
Oliver Skipp (Community — 4.0): Again, in my heart Skippy had an assist to Richarlison, but otherwise he was quite good against a bad Forest team — progressive, snappy, solid positionally. He’s settling into form now with a good run of games.
Pedro Porro (Community — 4.0): Now we’re starting to see why Porro was so highly coveted in January. Nobody else can play that cross to Kane’s head like he did. He offers something different to Emerson Royal, and that’s a good thing.
Fraser Forster (Community — 4.0): I still don’t think Forster is a very good keeper, but he had a good match against Forest with a couple of impressive reaction saves. Screwed up a bit on Forest’s goal, but made up for it with a penalty save late.
Cuti Romero (Community — 4.0): As bad as he was against Milan, he was much better against Forest. No rash challenges, no moments of ill discipline, had a great pass in the buildup to Richarlison’s “goal,” and he nearly scored himself with a mazy run into the box.
3.5 stars: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Beloved by hipsters everywhere, PBR is best enjoyed ice cold on a hot day with a bunch of friends all sporting pretentious mustaches and trucker hats. But there’s better cheap beer out there, you’ve just probably never heard of it.
Eric Dier (Community — 3.5): I have no strong Dier takes. An above average match, no real mistakes.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): Rarely troubled, again deputizing for Ivan Perisic at left back. Forced a save from Navas. Not the future at left back, clearly, but he does seem to work better with Son than Ivan.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 3.5): Pretty good and at times commanding performance against a Forest midfield that didn’t put up a ton of fight.
Antonio Conte (Community — 3.5): Credit to him for swallowing his pride and starting Richy, but I’m still kind of flabbergasted by his man management in these matches. Up 3-0 and no subs until 84’? Really?
3 stars: Miller High Life
I know people who rate this way higher than where I’m putting it and god love them, but despite the “champagne of beers” moniker there’s something just a little off about the flavor of MHL. Champagne is a regional distinction, and there’s nothing regional about Miller High Life... let’s call it the “sparkling wine of beers” and not pretend it’s something it isn’t.
Clement Lenglet (Community — 3.5): Honestly I think he probably deserves less than this but I’m feeling generous. Out of position for Worrall’s goal, a little muddy at the back, and played a couple of bothersome passes. But it could’ve been worse?
2.5 stars: Yuengling
Look, I know it’s distinctive and regional and tastes different to every other beer on this list, but I’m really tired of people from Pennsylvania telling me how good Yuengling is. It’s not. It’s mid to meh, and I’m not changing my mind.
No players here.
2 stars: Anything with “Lite” in the title
I’m convinced that the only reason these beers exist is due to marketing, because who actually enjoys them? What’s the purpose for their existence? The “Lite” implies you’re not going to gain weight by drinking 12 of them at at tailgate, but guess what buddy — you will. And I can guarantee there are better and tastier ways to do that than by skimping on beer quality. Have some self-respect and at least enjoy what you’re drinking. Life is too short. Lite is too bad.
Just padding out the categories.
1 star: Natural Ice
It’s not the worst rated beer on Beer Advocate — that dubious distinction goes to Miller Genuine Draft 64 — but lord is it bad. It’s almost too “lite” to even classify it as a beer; it’s more like a beer-flavored seltzer, the White Claw of cheap beers (except at least White Claw has discernible flavor). The only thing going for it is the price, which is why it’s the ubiquitous free beer at most college parties. If you want to get drunk quick, go for the whatever’s in the punchbowl. If you want to enjoy whatever you’re drinking, bring your own libations. If are full of self-loathing, a flagellant, or don’t enjoy beer... well, don’t drink this either.
No Tottenham players are as bad as a can of Natty Ice.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Dejan Kulusevski, Lucas Moura, Pape Sarr