I grew up during the resurgence of politically-charged punk rock fueled by the George W. Bush presidency. As such, I never got into a lot of the jam bands that many of my friends did, instead opting for the power chords and confrontational lyrics of Pennywise and the double-bass breakdowns of As I Lay Dying.
I have never been a Deadhead (more metalhead), or for that matter, the biggest fan of jam bands. That being said, I began to expand my musical horizon as I got older. When I was 25, I finally made it to my first jamband show — the legendary Phish at Dick’s shows that happen every Labor Day weekend. However, having spent more than two years as a regular patron of Zio’s Alley Bar in the Highlands, I learned to tolerate the Grateful Dead enough to enjoy the weekly Tuesday streams of old shows. After I reviewed Ultimate 91 Chem Dawg, I inevitably learned more about the Dead and started to notice the prevalence of references to the legendary group throughout Colorado’s industry. Some dispensaries, like Maggie’s Farm and Terrapin Care Station, as well as strains like Deadhead OG and Casey Jones carry the band’s legacy into the legitimate cannabis industry.
Deadhead OG by the numbers: $20/gram at Oasis Cannabis Superstore in Mountain View
Unfortunately for myself and the other regulars, Zio’s went through some internal changes which resulted in the end of Grateful Dead Tuesday and the departure of my two favorite bartenders in Denver, Jen and Quinn. So, they decided to host one last GDT at Local 46 in the Highlands. Fellow Cannabist contributor, Jake Browne, and his fiancée, Sam, wanted to come too, so we met at my place and carpooled to the party.
I had recently spent a day checking out some of my favorite shops in the Denver area and bought Deadhead OG when I stopped at Oasis Cannabis Superstore in Mountain View. My favorite thing about Oasis is that it’s as close to an actual superstore as exists in cannabis. After I walked into the waiting room and showed them my ID, I was allowed into the recreational shopping room — a massive room that seemed like the size of a football field (though probably closer to half that size).
As I navigated the maze of display cases, I contemplated the sheer volume of weed that in the store. The main section devoted to flower had between five and fifteen strains each from five or six different cultivators. Directly adjacent to that was a smaller section where house strains are kept. Their house strains were split into two tiers. According to the budtender, the top eight-to-12 inches of the plant are hand-trimmed, while the lower part of the plant is machine-trimmed and sold at a discount. Since I had already smoked flower from several of the other grows, I decided I would try out one of the house strains. I looked at a handful of options, but Deadhead OG caught my eye. I sold it regularly as a budtender, but hadn’t smoked some in ages. I asked the budtender for a gram of the higher quality, hand-trimmed batch of Deadhead OG and went on my way.
Deadhead OG is a popular OG cross that was created by breeder Skunk VA of the Cannabis Cup-winning seed company, Cali Connection. He created the strain by crossing his cut of Chem ’91 and an inbred line of San Fernando Valley OG Kush (SFV OG), according to the company’s website.
While I waited for Jake and Sam to come to my place a few days later, I rolled the gram into two joints — one for us to smoke before we left, and one to gift to my favorite bartenders. I popped open the push-top container to reveal one long nug, around the size of my thumb.
The nug was skinnier than I expected for an OG Kush cross, particularly at the bottom — probably because a piece had broken off in the display jar. The leaves were a hue of dark bluish-green with blood-orange hairs scattered throughout. The trichomes on the bottoms of the leaves gave them a lighter, yellow color.
This phenotype of Deadhead gave off a fragrance of pine and earth. When I broke it open, an initial hint of diesel opened up. I was a little surprised, as the cut I sold as a budtender had a much sweeter smell and reminded me of an obscure flavor of Mexican candy.
I gave the nug a pinch and it crumbled — slightly drier than I would have liked, but still smokeable. As I broke it up, it left a resin on my fingers that was halfway between sticky and sandy. I split the pile of ground bud into two even lines for the joints I was about to roll.
Soon after I finished, Jake and Sam rolled up. I put one of the joints in my cigarette pack to give to Quinn later, and we sparked the other. Initially, the taste was mainly pine and diesel and made the tip of my tongue tingle. It wasn’t until the third or fourth hit that I started coughing. The ash burned clean, leaving me to believe the harshness of the smoke was due to the dryness of the flower and not a lack of flushing of nutrients.
The first thing I noticed was the diminishing pain in my right elbow (courtesy of a recent bicycling mishap). After the pain subsided, I felt my eyes relax first, then my body. About three-quarters of the way through the joint, we decided we were sufficiently stoned and called an Uber.
When we got to Local 46, the party was already poppin’. We navigated our way through the crowded bar, stopping every 5 feet to say ‘hi’ to friends and ask if anyone had seen Jen and Quinn. The high was nice — I felt like I was floating around the bar like Casper, but had no issues initiating and holding conversations. After a couple laps, we found Quinn at the bar — only the second time I had ever seen him on the same side of the bar as me. I bought a round of drinks and we toasted to Grateful Dead Tuesdays and the years of memories we had at Zio’s before enjoying the rest of the night.
Overall, this cut of Deadhead OG provided a nice high, but I still prefer the sweeter pheno I sold as a budtender. I will, however, go back to Oasis to sample more of their house strains (and to revel in the sheer amount of weed on their shelves).
So, to Jen, Quinn and the GDT family, “Fare Thee Well.” Now that GDT is no more, I’ll have to wait to see everyone again when the Dead & Company come to Boulder’s Folsom Field this summer.
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