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Votes determine Indiana's 'Best of' award winners

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Office of Tourism Development has announced winners for the 2019 Best of Indiana people’s choice campaign.

Hoosiers cast 45,768 votes in this year’s categories. Winners are:

• Best Brewery: Bad Dad Brewing Co., Fairmount, Grant County

• Best Hiking Trail: The Ladders Trail (Trail 3) at Turkey Run State Park, Parke County

• Best Main Street: Franklin, Johnson County


Hoosier breweries consistently rank as some of the best in the world. At Bad Dad Brewing Company in Fairmount, it’s a family affair started by a dad and his sons.

They said they wanted to build something worth experiencing and they believe beer can bring people together. With names like Socks & Sandals and Ask Your Mother, the brews have unique names and unique flavor profiles. 

A piece of history was transformed when the Wade brothers. transformed an old feed mill into Mad Paddle Brewery in Madison, which placed second in the voting. It opened in 2018 and now has over 20 beers canned or on tap.

Quaff ON! Brewing Company’s beers are distributed all over Indiana, but it was started in 2012 in Brown County. It’s part of the Hard Truth Hills Company.

The owners said they started it in response to the demand for iconic craft beers. It finished number three on the Best of Indiana list.

Hiking trails

Indiana offers more than 3,600 miles of local, state, federal and non-profit trails. 

The Ladders Trail, also known as, Trail 3 at Turkey Run State Park was voted the Best of Indiana for hiking.

This is a very rugged 1.7-mile trail that offers some unusual hiking opportunities. It follows the cliffs along Sugar Creek and returns to the ridgetop by a series of ladders. It then takes hikers to the “punch bowl, “a large pothole formed by glacial erractics. It winds past a steep rock wall on the way back to a suspension bridge.

Number two on the list was Trail 2 at Turkey Run State Park. This rugged 1-mile trail follows under cliff edges, taking hikers through Box Canyon and Gypsy Gulch before intersecting with Trail 1.

Rounding out the top three was Trail 2 at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison. Trail 2 is three miles long, with only one way in and one way out. It’s primarily the stone bed of Clifty Creek and is very rugged.

Main Streets

Voters selected Franklin in Johnson County as having the best Main Street in Indiana.

Franklin has made significant changes to its downtown over the past few years. Officials said this has brought numerous new businesses to the downtown, including restaurants and shops. Franklin is considered a walkable downtown that resulted in more activities and festivals on the square. 

Located along the Ohio River, Madison in Jefferson County was voted number two in the main street voting. Madison is known for its historic buildings, rich history, unique businesses and shops, and its beautiful scenery, parks, and recreational activities. 

Downtown Angola caps the list at number three. The main feature of its downtown is the New England-style public square with a Soldiers’ Monument at its center. Angola has invested heavily in quality-of-place initiatives, like Art Alley, Brohaw theater renovation, and large events, like Cruise to the Monument car show. Businesses are flocking to the downtown.

Last year, Visit Indiana asked Hoosiers to select Indiana’s Best Burger, Museum and State Park. Best Museum was The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Best Burger is Brew Burger, Jasper; Best State Park,: Turkey Run State Park, Marshall.