The grower-owner of A Cut Above, a guy who goes by the name of Debo Newshoes, is one of the more entertaining "friends" I have on Facebook. He constantly posts photos of his floor-to-ceiling hydroponic trees, and lately the pictures have been getting better and better. So after he posted a dank-nugs-heavy vid of thirteen different possible entries for the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup going on this weekend (which I'll be attending), I figured it was time to finally give A Cut Above a shot.
Address: 1911 S. Broadway in Denver Phone: 720-536-8965 Website: None. Owners: "Debo and Phil" Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday 11 a.m to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,11 a.m. to 9 p.m; closed Sundays. Raw marijuana price range: $30 to $50 per eighth. Other types of meds: Limited edibles, tinctures, small selection of hash. Handicap accessible? Yes.
The shop is hidden in plain sight among the five or so other dispensaries between Jewell and Evans on South Broadway, behind The Herbal Center -- something that took me about two trips around the block to figure out. Newshoes and his business partner, both of whom are longtime growers, also run two shops by the same name in Colorado Springs. The competition on Broadway is extremely fierce price-wise, he says, suggesting that a lot of the shops are run by "real estate agents and investors" and not growers. Having been in several by now, he's not far off the mark.
A girl behind a security window who introduced herself as TJ took and copied my red card before buzzing me back. The shop is one big room, so there's no need for an actual tour, but TJ still took the time to show me around. Two lounges have been set up for patients -- one in the back corner of the space and a second right in the middle of the room. It's not super upscale, but it's clean and the owners have made an effort to make the big space seem more cozy and inviting. A few posters of blown-up, live ganja flowers brighten up the walls, but otherwise, the place is pretty decoratively bare-bones.
Two long glass and wood jewelry display counters are set up in an L shape along the back two walls. One side is stocked with ganja and the other filled mostly with cheapo glass and a few assorted edibles. There wasn't much, just a few suckers, tinctures and some honey sticks, but the budtender mentioned that they had medicated drinks and Simply Pure bars in a little fridge behind the register, The shop also had a boatload of Cheeba Chews, which I have yet to review in Mile Highs and Lows but can assure you are incredibly strong.
The second half of TJ's tour was through the wide selection of herb divided into four price/quality ranges. Patients and first-timers pay $5-$10 less at each level, although some strains were still $50 even for members, like an organic Bubblegum. I pretty much ignored those. For the most part, they weren't any more impressive than the already appealing $40 strains. The first thing to catch my eye was a jar of deep green UK Cheese, with its funky cheese and strawberry-shortcake aroma. TJ also moved through several different kush varieties. A few other cuts worth mentioning included a very pretty, chunky Daywrecker (headband) and a very, very white White. Newshoes says all of their strains are clone-only.
For the most part, everything looked better cared for than a majority of dispensaries I've visited: well dried, a good cure, solid and distinct smells from just about every strain. Newshoes says they try to stretch out their drying time in a cold room to roughly ten days and then cure for at least two weeks in glass jars. The extra effort really made a difference in some of their lower priced/quality strains like the floral Purple Kush and the Golden Goat-like Dairy Queen. Even standard warehouse strains like Blueberry stood out, especially at their $30-per-eighth bottom price tier.
The other "cheap" strains I saw weren't too bad, either, and A Cut Above does a good job of separating the different price ranges. Some were clearly chosen for the "lower shelves" because they were either high-yields, like the Blueberry, or just not quite up to the level of their other flowers, like the BOG, which was pretty but probably rush-cured judging by the zoo-like smell. That's not to say everything was great, and a few strains wouldn't stand out among the herb their neighbors carry. Some failed to hit the smell bull's-eye, like the $40/eighth Chemdawg 4. It was covered in loose amber trichomes but lacked the impressive smell it takes for me to bring home a Chem strain these days. TJ mentioned the cut was in the Cannabis Cup this weekend, so I'll be interested to see how others rate it. The shop also had a not-so-hazy Super Silver Haze, one of my all-time favorite strains in part for the nose-tickling aroma.
I made a point of going through a lot of flowers this week, and TJ was cool enough to not only tolerate my open-sniff-stare routine with dozens of jars but also to offer her feedback on each strain. She pointed out several of the Cannabis Cup entries, two of which I took home to sample this week. The only downside to my visit was a lack of hash or other concentrates. They had about a half-dozen grams of bubble in the cabinet, but nothing outstanding. TJ split an eighth for me and threw in a free house joint for being a first timer, sending me home about $40 lighter and (when I got home) $40 higher.
UK Cheese: ($40/eighth) I haven't seen this cut around much in the shops. It's one of my favorites through my caregiver, in large part due to the funky aged-cheese smell and rich, fruity taste. Aside from a few brown fan leaf tips, the cut from A Cut Above was gorgeous. Very well developed flowers, dried and cured almost perfectly, that looked like they were rolled in kief. Breaking up the bud over my desk left it sticky with resinous trichomes. The sativa-strong Cheese burned with a sweet skunk-like flavor through most of the bowl, leaving powered white ash and a stoned William Breathes behind. Very clear, crisp mental buzz from this strain that was great for getting strongly medicated in the morning for my appetite without putting me back to sleep.
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S1 Bubba Kush: ($40/eighth) For the second week in a row, I picked up the Bubba Kush. In terms of bag appeal, these flowers were beautiful. I took home about eight perfect mini-Christmas trees, some with light purple to the sugar leaves left behind. Newshoes said he usually lets his flowers run well past their suggested harvest time, as the dark tan dusting of mature crystals throughout would suggest. As good as it looked, this cut wasn't super stinky like the Bubba I took home last week. It still had the solid Bubba flavor through the first three or four hits in a bowl, making it great for taking small one-hits through the day. Surprisingly uplifting for a Bubba, and two bowls had me cleaning my house like a mad man. And it was great for easing the subsequent back pain from vacuuming, sweeping and mopping my entire house.
William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.