It wasn't so much from paranoia as from years of conditioning.
Walking into New Broadsterdam, I encountered a full-on police-issue Harley-Davidson with emblems still attached sitting in their front entryway.
It almost made me turn around and run out the door and across South Broadway as fast as I could.
New Broadsterdam -- Herbal Alternatives 2560 South Broadway Denver, CO 80210 303-955-1143 www.newbroadsterdam.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range (members): $25/eighth ounce, $50/quarter ounce, $95/half ounce, $175/ounce. Raw marijuana price range non-members: $30/eighth ounce, $60/quarter ounce, $120 half ounce, $200/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO hash, edibles. Online menu? Yes, though it doesn't seem to be updated. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Minus the cop chopper thrown in for humor, New Broadsterdam's waiting room had an appropriately Netherlands-esque thing going on, with pictures of windmills hung on the walls and other Dutch kitsch thrown around for good measure. There's also a huge, village-square-like white lattice pergola set up over the receptionist desk. It fits, though I'm not really sure about the Dutch connection on that one. The other pieces of heavy wooden antique furniture (and motorcycle) they've got sitting in the large, empty waiting room make it feel almost like one of the antique shops a few blocks north.
Granted, none of those stores also sell glass oil rigs by local artists, like New Broadsterdam does. Neither do they have menus up advertising the buds and pricing in the windows like a cafe. And instead of musty furniture, it's musky cannabis.
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After getting my ID and red card checked out, my budtender took me back to the bud bar. Judging by the "NO ENTRY" signs, it probably also leads back to the center's in-house farm. There was also a quirky hydroponic setup working out of a re-used (and very clean, I was assured) toilet featuring a stalk of flowering Acapulco Gold. Given all the marijuana that has gone down the commode over time, I guess it's nice to see cannabis finally winning out and rising from the porcelain.
The toilet is just one of the quirks of the bud bar. In comparison to the Sound of Music-vibe front room, it's like an Amsterdam club aimed at German tourists: bright colors on the carpet and doors, lots of green crosses (some even in AstroTurf), Bob Marley murals, and shelves upon shelves of buds, edibles, hashes and waxes, all selling for cheap. Ounces for members run $175, and non-members are capped at $200; hashes sold for up to $30, with lower-priced kief available as well. The Silver Pearl wax, in particular, looked nice and flakey, like the shake at the bottom of a bag of frosted flakes. The jar in the shop had a lemony haze smell with an almost identical flavor. Very uplifting -- and dabbed on a skillet, it didn't leave any residue behind. Better on top of a bowl, though, where it melted down and added the yellow Sweet Tart flavor to the strain already being smoked.
As for herb, the shop had about twenty strains, and without anyone waiting behind me in a line, my budtender went through everything with me. He clearly had spent his time in the grow room, rattling off strain genetics and lineages for not only the standards like Durban Poison and Sour Diesel, but also some of the strains he said the shop was creating in-house, including the crazy stew of White Widow, Lambs Breath, Haze, AK-47, and the Super Lemon Haze that is their Brainbuzz. Page down for the rest of the review and photos. The fuzzy round Brain Buzz buds had an almost purple sheen to the dark-green sugar leaves left behind and a dusting of shiny, silver trichomes. The smell, on the other hand, was a mix of hippie armpit and licorice. As disgusting as that may sound, the pungency out of the jar in the shop was intense, and I wanted to see why my budtender was so nuts about this cut -- so I brought home a few nugs for myself. Aside from being packed into the small container so tight that I had to shake them out, the buds had dried out over time and didn't have nearly as strong an odor as the sample. The flavor was subtler than the smell, with an almost hashy taste lingering around on my tongue after the first few hits. My stomach has been relatively cramp-free this past week, so I didn't put this to the pain test. But based on the couch time I spent after my test bowls, I can imagine it would do the job well.
Everything is priced at the same level, though some buds clearly were more impressive than others. Like comparing the Silver Pearl, with its sweet sativa smells and sandy trichome coverage, to a dull God's Vagina that had nothing impressive to offer, including the name. What's with people naming buds after genitals?
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There was also a batch of Boston Bling that had a wild, jungle aroma and golf-ball-sized Blue Widow buds worth a second look. And though I wasn't going to take it home, New Broadsterdam had a batch of Nevils haze that looked like it had been put through some sort of shrink ray; it had the teeniest-tiniest trichomes and itty-bitty, thin sugar leaves. Very undergrown for what I know of this strain, but still intriguing.
Aside from the chop trim job, the Deadhead OG buds out of the stock jar in the shop stood out the most. They had a mild earthy smell to them, but with an added hydroponic sugary fruit punch. The herb wasn't bad, but I think OGs are best done in other mediums. Unlike thick, pyramid-shaped soil/coco fiber-grown versions of this strain, the hydro-grown buds I brought home from New Broadsterdam were comparatively thin and wispy. They were still coated in trichomes, but without a lot of the waxy density. Nevertheless, when smoked and vaped, the OG flavor came out along with a fresh, piney spice. Despite a few pops and crackles here and there, and burning more on the harsh side than not, it smoked down to powdered white ash every time. Not mind-blowingly potent, but certainly strong -- and with the $30/eighth price tag (less if you're a member), it's good for the bargain hunter.
Overall, New Broadsterdam is more memorable for the oddities inside than the handful of headies on the shelf. But it's not a bad place for discount buds if you're saving your pennies (hopefully for a trip to the real Amsterdam someday).