Hard Truth Hills emerges as Brown County’s newest must-visit destination this fall season

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NASHVILLE, Ind. -- In 2009, Big Woods Brewing Company opened their very first location in the heart of Brown County. It was a small restaurant that rose to big success and multiple locations including Bloomington, Franklin and Speedway.

After overwhelming support by locals, co-founders Jeff McCabe, Ed Ryan and Tim O’Bryan decided to form Quaff ON! Brewing in 2012 in order to meet the growing demand for craft beer outside Brown County. That endeavor was closely followed by Hard Truth Distilling Company in 2015.

In order to make larger capacity spirits, Tim O’Bryan said they needed a new home with a lot more space.

Photo Credit: Yelp via Ken N

Fortunately, they found it at Hard Truth Hills, located just off Old State Road 46 [at 418 Old State Rd 46, Nashville, IN 47448] behind the Seasons Lodge.

“We really try to think about Hard Truth Hills as almost like an adult theme park,” said O’Bryan.

But instead of roller coasters and long lines, Hard Truth Hills features a restaurant, distillery and 325 acres of Brown County’s famous rolling hills.

“The first thing you’re going to see is a really cool rack house and that’s going to be where our barrels are aging,” he explained. “As you drive by that, you’ll then arrive at our Welcome Center which is where you’ll start your journey if you’re coming for a tour.”

There, guests can enjoy tastings paired nicely with educational experience.

“You’ll be able to learn a lot about our business, what we do— our craft— and a little bit about Brown County as well,” said O’Bryan.

Then head up to the restaurant for the Big Woods experience on a larger scale.

Photo Credit: Hard Truth Hills Facebook

The restaurant is family-friendly, with a massive patio and outdoor stage, live music on weekends and a dining room that can seat over 200 patrons.

Guests can indulge in Big Woods classics like their signature pulled pork nachos. Or opt for one of their campfire dishes, which are campfire-themed entrees exclusive to Big Woods at Hard Truth Hills.

Campfire entree featuring rabbit      (Photo Credit: Yelp via Laurette R)

“The meal is actually prepared in a pouch of aluminum foil, so when it comes out to the customer it’s piping hot in this foil packet,” O’Bryan explained. “So when you open it up it’s this really great experience like you’ll see with the venison dish today.”

Share an order of poutine or enjoy a skillet cookie for dessert and if you’re new to craft beer, grab a flight of Quaff ON! beer to figure out your favorite brews.

“In the heart of Brown County, you’re going to have access to pretty much all the beers we’re making up at the brewery… the Busted Knuckle, the 6 Foot Blonde and the Strawberry Blonde, those are our popular flagship beers,” O’Bryan said.

Photo Credit: Hard Truth Hills Instagram

If you’d prefer a cocktail, you’re in the right place. After all, their distillery operations are one of the soul reasons why they founded Hard Truth Hill. Plus, their knowledgeable bartenders can craft some unique cocktails using their trademark spirits.

“We’ve got vodka and gin which we are really proud of our gin [and] a wild cinnamon vodka which is an incredibly popular product for us,” he said.  “On top of that, we’re going to start production on our whiskeys, so bourbons and rye whiskeys and things like that here at this facility featuring their gin or cinnamon vodka.”

Photo Credit: Hard Truth Hills

You can even take a tour behind the scenes and watch the production up close in their brand new distilling space, featuring a Vendome copper still.

“The Vendome still is really going to allow us to be the largest craft distillery in the state and that will kind of put us on the map in establishing that Indiana Bourbon Trail…where people can travel through the state and make Brown County a primary stop on that journey.”

Four Things You Need to Know About Hard Truth Hills:

  • Big Woods at Hard Truth Hills feature an outdoor stage for live music as well as a private room in the restaurant that can be rented for special events.
  • Hard Truth Hills offers guided ATV tours to explore the expansive 325-acre grounds. Guests can also tour the distillery and get a behind the scenes look at how their favorite spirits are made.
  • Big Woods at Hard Truth Hills feature an outdoor stage for live music as well as a private room in the restaurant that can be rented for special events.
  • Thanks to their new production space and Vendome still, O’Bryan says Hard Truth Hills is set to become the largest craft distillery in the state of Indiana. Their hope is to put Hard Truth (and Brown County) on the map in establishing the “Indiana Bourbon Trail.”
  • Hard Truth Hills will feature live music on weekends, special events and festivals. For instance, they just hosted the inaugural Midwest Distillers Fest on October 6th. You can follow them on social media for the latest on live musicians and upcoming events.

If you happen to make the journey to Brown County this fall, O’Bryan says it’s well worth the time to explore all the new businesses and attractions the area has to offer in addition to Hard Truth Hills.

“You have the traditional things— the State Park and the shopping— but in addition to us with the brewery and the distillery and the restaurants, we’ve got things like great mountain bike trails, zip lines, all sorts of really fun outdoor adventure things that appeal to people of all ages and we’re just happy to be a part of that growth,” he said.

For more info on Hard Truth Hills, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook or Instagram.

While in Brown County, check out some of these other local favorites:

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