Lyons Finest II shop had escaped my radar until last week, when I was browsing Weed Maps and saw that it had a decent rating and reviews from customers. I've also got this theory that the farther north you go in Colorado, the better the bud gets -- and by that logic, a shop from Lyons should have good herb.
Yes, that's about as scientific as my selection process gets.
11080 East 47th Avenue Denver, CO 80239 303-371-3729
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6:45 Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $8-$9/gram $25-$35/eighth-ounce, $180-$200/ounce. Members receive monthly specials. Other types of medicine: Edibles, drinks, pressed kief, wax, shatter. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Like a lot of north-of-70 dispensaries, Lyons Finest II is in the maze of scrabbly warehouses that were at one point adjacent to the old Stapleton Airport. It's become a dispensary hot spot in recent years, mostly because people are trying to position themselves at the gateway to Denver for people just getting off a flight at DIA.
Fittingly, the inside of Lyons Finest II looks like someone took over the HR offices of a moving company or some other warehouse-related business and turned it into a pot shop without doing much else. One corner was loaded up with boxes of snacks, drinks and food for employees, and paperwork was hung all over near the front desk.
Inside, the place smells green and fertilizer-ish; the grow operation was clearly going on behind the blacked-out door to the right of the reception counter. (At one point, a grower stepped out of the room and I got a look at a few different plants.) My budtender was doubling as a receptionist when I walked in, watching a huge flat-screen TV mounted on the wall opposite her desk. There's not really a waiting room so much as there are a few chairs by the desk and some standing room over by the snack pantry. Thankfully, only two guys were ahead of me, and they didn't take much time. They walked up, made their selections without looking at any of the tiny display jars, and walked out with some $180 ounces.
The bud bar is in the same space, with a row of glass display cabinets and a cash register running down the back of the office. Herb is kept in large, barrel-like jars on a huge black bookcase behind the budtenders. Small bud sample jars of about half of the strains were on the counter; to see the rest of the strains, you had to ask the budtender to pull them off the shelf behind her.
Most of the buds fell in the general range of warehouse-grow-level pot. Things like the Green Kush, Headband and Flo could have been any strain, as there weren't any strain-defining characteristics to any of them. The neon-green Golden Goat looked like it was juiced up on hydro-nutrients and lacked the fuzzy orange appearance and rotten-sweet smell. Others were more tolerable, like the funky and fruity Strawberry Wowie, grapey Purple Urkle and spicy AK.
Pricing is reasonable, though the quality didn't necessarily demand that the majority of them were priced in the top-level $30/eighth range. Only a handful of the buds were on the $25 level, and one or two were designated as reserved strains at $35 an eighth. First-timers get a $15-per-eighth-ounce discount from any shelf, as well as a pre-rolled doobie. Although I normally split an eighth to get some variety, my budtender said she wouldn't do it on a $15 eighth but would on a full-priced eighth. Okay: It makes little sense other than budtender laziness, but no big deal. I don't really think any of the other strains would have been any more impressive than the mid-level-quality Dawg Waltz I got.
Not that it was bad. In fact, the buds looked solid. Nice crystal coverage with huge, fat, bulbous-headed trichomes dusted all over the sticky, dark-green and orange buds. It just didn't have much of a distinct smell or flavor and reminded me of some generic Cali buds I picked up on the street in Kona, Hawaii, a few years back. Out of the jar, the buds smelled like garden gloves after weeding. Broken up, they took on a darker, black-cherry sweetness, but none of that came through in the tarry, resinous smoke. The strain itself was heavy, and though it perked up my appetite significantly, it also made it hard to stay awake after a couple of bowls. Not a strain I'd come back for personally, but if you're an insomniac, give this one a go.
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The best bet, from what I could see, was the hash-oil wax and shatter from Colorado Concentrates -- specifically the shatter. I'm not a huge fan of waxes unless I'm using a vape pen, and the "flake" hash looked like too much of a hassle for me. But the deep-tan, coffee-colored globs of Flo shatter were just right at $40 a gram (tax is included in the shop's pricing). The wax was a good consistency and remained brittle and clear for the week or so it lasted. Even un-vaporized, the stuff had a sweet, soil-like smell, and the flavor was amazingly spot-on Flo. I've given Colorado Concentrates a hard time in the past over waxes I've brought home and subsequently threw away, but the company has clearly improved, and I'd come back for this again for sure.
But that might be the only reason I'd make the drive back to Lyons Finest II right now. Otherwise, unless you live within a few minutes' drive, you won't find anything here that you couldn't find by throwing a rock down Broadway and walking into the first dispensary you hit.
That, or driving up to Lyons and making friends with the first guy who reeks of skunk.