In keeping with my self-appointed status as a bon vivant of buds, I make it a point to try out new rec stores that are not on my normal route to and from home. Golden Meds is one of those shops. The dispensary’s original location off I-70 is definitely out of my way and known more for shake specials and $10 grams than quality pot — so when I saw that the newest link in this homegrown chain had opened in a southeast Denver strip mall, at 970 South Oneida Street off Leetsdale, I knew I had to try it out, even if I wasn’t expecting to find much.
The place looked pretty dead when I walked in; the recreational side was empty save for a friendly security guard who said he doubled as a budtender when needed. I asked if he had anything to recommend, and he pulled out a few jars that looked like they belonged on the shake shelf. Unimpressed with the optics of the flower lineup, I picked out a gram of the fattest-looking buds on the top tier: an indica called Keplar (not Kepler) that cost me $14.54 after tax.
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The substitute budtender said he didn’t know much about the Keplar other than that it was purchased from a wholesale grower. The mystery of this indica strain intrigued me, so I saved it until an easy night when I had plenty of time to determine just how heavy it would be. After being kept in a jar for a few days, the Keplar had achieved some complex smells: Strong spicy notes, hints of lemon and scents of wood crept out of the jar as I checked out the buds. Given my initial impression of the shop’s menu, I couldn’t help but marvel at the frosty trichome development and stiff calyxes; breaking up the nugs produced more sugary smells that made me eager to puff.
Each hit from the small joint I rolled tasted chalky yet sweet, almost like the Necco wafers my grandma used to eat — and my throat escaped the sesh relatively unharmed. The spicy notes I’d smelled earlier may have marked some sativa presence, because I started doing hot laps around my house and ate some leftover lasagna like Garfield after a few bong tokes. Once the initial over-excitement wore off thirty minutes later, though, I might’ve been the chillest dude on the planet: no phone, no TV, just some Stevie Ray Vaughan with my feet up and eyes closed. While I wouldn’t send any pot snob to this Golden Meds location, I’ll admit that my first impression was wrong. The world needs places where people can buy cheap pot when they need it, and this shop has at least one strain that’s worth everyone’s time.
Strain Gang is our weekly critique of a cannabis strain at a recreational store. For MMJ reviews, go to westword.com/news. Send suggestions for strain reviews to email@example.com.