Spirit of ’76 from The Grass Station. (Jake Browne, The Cannabist)

Spirit of ’76 (marijuana review)

While often touted as a 50/50 hybrid, the indica nature of the Spirit of ’76 takes over for the morning with an uneven high.

“So you can’t write articles high?” pressed French reporter Martin Weill of Le Petit Journal, his third iteration of the question aimed at getting the perfect take.

“I usually take notes and write the article the next day,” I repeat, having received this question many times before. Journalists I talk to seem baffled by the concept of writing while high. Granted, I’m no Hunter S. Thompson feverishly banging away on an IBM Selectric for days on end. But the real question to me became, “Should I be writing high?”

Two days later, here I am with a vape pen full of Spirit of ’76 in an attempt to find out. If you’d like to try reading this article high, I’ll “pause for the cause” right now while I take two rips as well.

*****

Welcome back. Spirit of ’76 is a quintessentially Denver strain with unknown genetic origins, an early winner from Kindman (now called The Grass Station as part of some conglomerate). Our own shop critic The Ombudsman noted it as a highlight in his February 2014 trip, calling it “dark and fruity,” while the Denver weekly Westword touted it as one of the “Ten Best Marijuana Strains of 2013.” Now, it’s promoted as their signature strain in the same way T.G.I. Friday’s pushes their Jack Daniels® Ribs.

By the numbers: $18/gram, $300/ounce at The Grass Station, 4125 Elati St. in Denver.

Packing the vaporizer, the first impression was a stale earthiness, almost like a two-day-old glass of Cab Franc. There’s lingering pine on my fingers, too, and everything is telling me it leans more indica than the 50/50 hybrid it’s often held up as. There’s also the fact I’m starting to feel relatively stoned, despite my morning coffee. At this point I’ve abused the bud, squishing and prodding it to get anything else to waft up.

Am I doing this right? There aren’t many alums of “Weed Review University,” so I message former Westword critic William Breathes to see if there’s a method to the madness I’m not privy to.

“The morning I would turn my review in, I would make sure everything read correctly and put it all together,” he writes back. “Usually with a fresh set of eyes and a clean head.”

My head is not currently clean and my eyes are literally far past fresh at this point. The high is heavy-headed and is settling in my shoulders, arms drooping at the keyboard.

“Interesting,” I reply, as I become the conversational equivalent of a cold bowl of soup.

“I also think it’s worth pointing out that I didn’t smoke bowls like normal people would when reviewing strains,” Breathes writes. “Two-thirds of it was me puffing on it to get flavors and never really inhaling. I would always do that first, then pack another clean bowl to measure the high.”

Unlike Clinton, I inhaled deeply. Through the pen it took on a sweeter, almost spicy Zinfandel-like flavor, but I fire it back up and roll the vapor around in my mouth to verify. Even if I’m not all there, those notes certainly are.

We go back and forth on how we sample — he prefers clear, unworked glass spoons — and then we do the old “We should hang out soon!” dance, but I’m deep into my Spirit of ’76 buzz and my stomach has seized control of my morning. I’m typically a late-lunch guy, but the mood strikes for a fried egg sandwich before noon and I cave to my munchies.

Should you wake-and-bake with the ’76? A true hybrid is usually a solid, if occasionally risky daytime choice, but here I’d save the smoking until right before dinner. This high is like an older sibling sitting on your back, heavy and long lasting. Now, hopefully I can buck it off and get back to my day. And technically, I wrote a review while high.


Jake Browne talks about reviewing marijuana in this “Le Petit Journal” report on the French network Canal+: