This dispensary has closed.
We've got a new college intern around here, and her youthful energy and endless fascination with all things cannabis remind me of my own college-age years. Back then, getting ounces of herb wasn't as easy as walking down to the nearby dispensary. You had to be somewhat in the know to find quality weed.
Serenity Moon (University of Denver location)
2018 S. University Denver, CO 80210 303-993-5466 www.alpineherbalwellness.com
There are two Serentity Moon locations -- one near Colfax and York, and the other down south by the University of Denver, smack dab in the middle of what passes for the college bar scene there. And by the heart, I mean the one bar that used to be known for serving anyone who showed anything resembling a real 21-and-over ID: The Border. I used to hit the place up from time to time with friends, though I was mostly found on the bench by the Laundromat smoking a one-hitter.
Which leads me (albeit in a convoluted way) to the point of this tale: That bench I used to get stoned on while my college friends got shitcanned on Jäger-Red Bull bombs is still there -- but now it's out front of the dispensary where I bought my ganja the other week. I have to admit I paused to think back on all of the drunken coeds I saw stumble out of that bar to puke around the corner, or the times some drunk DU hockey player knocked out some unsuspecting frat boy in the parking lot with one punch. Interesting how nostalgia creeps up you.
I walked in to what used to be the coin-op laundromat and was buzzed through by the woman on the other side of the glass partition to the main bud bar once she got a look at my red card and ID. I snagged some leftover Halloween candy sitting on the receptionist's desk and sat down in one of the small chairs opposite the desk to fill out a few pages of paperwork. Compared to the dreary digs of a college-area washateria, the place is definitely a step up in the decor department. Bright, natural birch-wood paneling lines the bud bar, receptionist desk and back wall, where herb is kept in airtight jars on the shelves.
My budtender, Kyle, was one of, if not the, nicest I've ever come across at a dispensary. The guy really wasn't a salesman, and I mean that in a really good way. He said that he actually started out as a patient at Serenity Moon before landing a job there, and after dialing in the right strains, he had finally gotten off prescription painkillers for migraines and arthritis. He also said that prescription pain pills had given him ulcers, so the two of us were able find common ground quickly. He seemed sincere in wanting to help me find some good meds to take home, and the two of us spent about ten minutes comparing notes on stomach problems, appetite and what strains we use the most.
He suggested I try veering into the indica realm to try and ease cramps in my stomach and pulled down a few of the strains, including the Amsterdam Gold -- which he swore was his miracle strain. He also suggested the Grape Ape, which was the size and density of the popcorn kernels at the bottom of a movie theater bucket. Most unique was a Sweet Diesel with the fattest, brightest-orange pistils I have ever seen. The things were larger than some of the sugar leaves left behind from the trim on the Amsterdam Gold.
In all, the things I saw were grown well to a point, but most everything seemed to have been harvested early or simply underfed and was skinny-looking. The manager I spoke with on the phone after my visit admitted they have had issues in the past, but said they recently brought on a new master grower to help get their plants back on the fat and juicy track.
No hash the day I was in, but Kyle said Serenity Moon should start seeing more stock coming in soon once its trim gets processed. The shop also carried a solid range of edibles ranging from sweets to savories, with tinctures and drinks thrown in for good measure. One oddity was THC-infused bath salts. Unfortunately, bath salts have taken on a pretty negative connotation in relation to getting high over the last few years, so combining the two -- even in an honest and organic attempt at healing -- made me double-take and question how many idiots have bought it for smoking, not soaking.
The shop is tied in with Alpine Herbal Wellness in Cherry Creek. For those of you keeping score here, Alpine Herbal Wellness received what some (read: the owners) might call a rough review a few months back over their higher-than-usual prices for not-higher-than-usual herb. They have since lowered their prices, with a $40 cap on eighths, from what I see on the menu. But over at Serenity Moon, everything in the house sold for right around $22 before tax, bringing things to an extremely affordable $25 for each eighth of herb. I walked out with an eighth for just under $25, resisting my urge to sit down and light up on the bench out front one more time for old time's sake.
Amsterdam Gold: $25/eighth A short flower strain like this shouldn't be underdeveloped. But unfortunately, what I brought home was cut down way too early in flowering. Long, stringy and skinny calyxes and basketball-orange pistils were left all over my desk when I broke up this shakey bud for a joint, which burned quick with a mild citrus fruit thing for the first few hits. Ground up for a bowl, the herb let off a more distinct, zesty smell, but it also burned harsh due to the how stemmy the flower was. My budtender was correct, though, in assessing the relatively mild strain's effects on my body. As he predicted, the strain moved from a spacey floating sensation in my head down my neck and chest and settling in my gut with a calming sedation of both my body and my mind. Nothing overpowering -- this strain doesn't seem to ever test out very potent, and it was undergrown -- but it was enough to be used as a midday puff to deal with moderate cramping and pain.
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Lemon Skunk: $25/eighth Like the Amsterdam Gold, this strain was underdeveloped, though not quite to the same degree. It didn't have the lemon-rind mixed with Pepe Le Pew that you expect from Lemon Skunk, but the jar in the shop did have a stronger smell than the herb I brought home and subsequently left in the baggie for four days before testing. It became tart and lemony smelling after it was broken up, with a much more pronounced Country Time lemonade finish when smoked out of a dry pipe and bubbler. Not a centerfold version of this strain by any means, but it burned cleaner than I expected, with the typical uplifting buzz that got my stomach rumbling around lunchtime after a half-joint. At $22 an eighth, there really isn't anything I can complain about. It's $22-per-slice ganja. You get what you get. (For what it's worth: The guy who discovered/bred out/gave the world Lemon Skunk lives here in town and runs another shop we've reviewed, Verde Wellness).
William Breathes is the pot pen name for our roving medical marijuana critic. Read more of his reviews in our dispensary blog, Mile Highs and Lows and keep up with all your Denver news at The Latest Word.