If I had to sadistically pick my favorite death trap on a Denver highway, the now-defunct westbound Bryant exit from Sixth Avenue would take the cake. Trying to exit the freeway on this short ramp was near-impossible, and entering the roadway there was just as deadly, since traffic heading to I-25 South came flying into the right lane from the Federal overpass. It was stressful enough that anyone who did it regularly could have probably applied for -- and received -- a valid medical marijuana recommendation to cope with the daily trauma.
Which has to be the reason why Firehouse Organics chose a location almost directly under Sixth Avenue on Bryant, in the shadow of a construction project that's supposed to end years of nerve-racking twists and turns.
Firehouse Organcs 543 Bryant Street 303-493-1787 FirehouseOrganics.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $10/gram $30/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Wax and shatter from Boulder Pharms, edibles, "caviar" buds, CBD patches, O-pen refils. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales? No.
Not that driving on 6th Avenue is currently worry-free. The stretch between I-25 and Sheridan is still enough to give you gray hairs (and require the power of cannabis to unwind after rush hour.) I discovered that after my visit, which I (stupidly) timed with an early-Friday after-work rush headed back into town from the west.
The shop itself is a flagstone-and-brick one-story that reminds me of an old liquor warehouse built on a leftover piece of land nobody else wanted -- the type of place that sells enough booze to pay off the property taxes and bills and maybe even leave the owner a little scratch cash left over. Whatever it used to be, it's now a pot shop with plenty of parking out front and little foot traffic (at least not on a Friday afternoon). That could have something to do with wanting to avoid the area like the plague during construction, though.
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Inside, the dispensary only takes up a small portion of the building. The rest presumably is devoted to growing. I walked in and handed my card over to a woman in her twenties working behind the counter and was buzzed back to fill out a short patient intake form while I waited on the customer ahead of me to finish up. The room is cozy, bordering on cramped when there are a few other people inside. A few chairs for a waiting area are set up along the wall, and the glass bud bar counters and the excessively large receptionist area fill the rest of the space. A huge flat-screen TV, hung in the middle of the shop between the bud bar and the secretary's desk, was showing some A&E movie of the week to nobody in particular. It took up even more space, and the noise of the film mixed with the music on the stereo was too much for my ADD to handle when it came time to do some bud shopping.
Selection was decent, with about a dozen strains of herb on display, as well as a few kinds of flake hash oil and your usual random assortment of candy-based edibles. My budtender was a nice guy and had no problem with me asking to see everything on the shelf. However, he didn't seem to know much about the buds or how they were grown. I asked about the "Organics" part of the shop's name and he said something about how he's not on the garden side and didn't pay attention to the process. That said, his suggestions for the shop's top buds were on point. Like the Bogglegum.
I feel like I've had this strain a lot, but looking back over the years of reviews, it's only come up a few times. The cross of NL#5 and B.O.G.'s Bubble had a rich skunkiness on top of a sweet bubblegum smell out of the jar that kept my attention even as I looked through the rest of Firehouse's collection. At home, the strain burned smooth and clean to a white ash, with a thick and flavorful smoke that boasted coffee, soil and a hint of raspberry/cherry-bubblegum flavors. The buzz was mellow and easy, perfect for toking in the morning for nausea without leaving me so stoned that I'd have been useless for the day. It also kick-started my appetite like an old British motorcycle, revving it up to full bore within ten minutes of finishing my last hit. At $35 an eighth, the Bogglegum fell in the middle of the price range for the shop -- which wasn't bad, considering tax is included.
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In fact, all of the store's pricing was reasonable, with house strains mostly on the middle shelf; a few sold for $25 an eighth and $200 an ounce. The only buds on the top shelf weren't even grown by Firehouse. The shop had wholesaled some buds from Pink House's grow, including some stinky OGs, but I didn't give them too much of a glance, because they sell for less at an actual Pink House dispensary.
Instead, I spent my time looking at decent examples of Alien OG, a crystal-coated Flo and a lavender-rich Blue Dream. The White was another strain covered in trichomes and rich in smell. But I eventually brought home an eighth of Girl Scout Cookies. It consisted of two large, round and dense golden-green nuggets that dropped kief like powdered sugar from a cookie when I handled them. The buds had a brown sugary-sweet smell to them broken up, mixed with a light, soily-diesel-fume aroma. The sugary flavor wasn't all there, and I didn't get the full Cookies experience, but it did burn down to a clean ash and left a mildly skunky diesel-sweet aftertaste that lingered for a half-hour after puffing. Potency was great, though, and a bowlful was enough to send me to the moon in the evenings after dinner. A very spacey, buzzy high followed that flipped my internal switch from grumpy and tired to smiley and instantly content. It wasn't the best for pain relief, but it was the perfect après-ski companion on Monday to help me forget about sore knees and thighs after ripping up a foot of fresh snow at Winter Park. At $35 an eighth, it was fairly priced, but it would have to be better cured to inspire me to head back for more anytime soon.
Not that I would be going that way for a while -- not unless I'm in the mood for some masochistic punishment by bumper-to-bumper traffic. Until the bridgework is done, your best bet if you want to check out Firehouse is to head up to the north location at 44th and Zenobia.