Ngaio’s fave 5 strains of the year!

Pot columnist Ngaio Bealum lays out his favorites from a very dank year

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2016 may have been the year that cannabis put on its fancy pants. Just like high-end coffee or every microbrew ever, cannabis can finally be legally placed in the center of the Venn diagram showing the intersection of “drugs” and “tasting notes.” There are cannabis cups, weed tasting parties, dab bars, underground social clubs, farmers markets and all kinds of pop-up smoking sessions all over California. Chronnissuers are having a field day. And California is still leading the pack when it comes to consistently producing quality cannabis. I sampled over 600 different types of cannabis this year, and damn near all of them were really, really good. In no particular order, here are my top five favorite strains from California. This list was hard to write.

Chocolate Hashberry

Grower: Bon Vivant Farms

Location: Mendocino

I have this listed in my notes as a “weed for grownups.” It smells just like chocolate, and when we smoked it, it maintained a thick chocolate flavor with a hint of smokiness on the finish. The high was mellow but social, good for quiet conversations about physics or how to change the world. Pairs well with scotch for a sort of “dapper crossfade.” Subtle yet powerful, this particular cut finished 13th at the 2016 Emerald Cup.

Tahoe Nebula

Grower: Greenshock

Location: Mendocino

Greenshock is the farm behind this year’s Emerald Cup runner-up, Purple Candy Cane. Their Tahoe Nebula is a crystal covered beast bursting with kushiness and a hint of old-school skunk. The high is heavy and comes on kinda quick. Think more “stoned” and less “high.” If I remember correctly, smoking this weed made staying on target and having a productive day into a small problem, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t stop smiling.

Pineapple Trainwreck

Grower: Mr. Natural

Location: Provenance unavailable

Weed in a can! Yup. Great color. Strong tropical aroma, all mangoes and pineapples and Just enough pinene so you know the Trainwreck is coming. I think this strain is supposed to be a hybrid, but it must lean heavily to the sativa side, because every time I smoked it, I would find myself tidying up my apartment. Two hits of this strain is the perfect idea before guests come over.

Kashmir Kush

Grower: Mindful Cali

Location: Nevada County

An electric green bud, with a strong “purple” smell, this cut had all of the best qualities of a good kush: a terrific “purple kush” flavor with a finish of lavender and maybe a little jasmine. The high wasn’t as overwhelming as some kushes can be; I didn’t immediately want a nap, but I definitely wanted some snacks and quality entertainment.

Chronic of Narnia

Grower: I can’t remember

Location: Nevada County

Double sativa! A classic sativa Trainwreck crossed with the sativa dominant known as Jack Herer (Skunk #1 x Haze x Northern Lights #5) that will get you going. The pine of the Trainwreck shines, while the skunk adds depth and funk and the NL5 makes the smoke creamy and thick. Heh. Great for writing or other activities where you can sit somewhat still while letting your mind run wild and free.