NEW ALBANY — Fistful of Tacos has become a staple of Southern Indiana’s food truck scene since it launched in 2015, and over the years, the taco business has continued to expand with additional food trucks, a catering business and the opening of a brick-and-mortar storefront in 2018.
Now, the company is embarking on its next mission as it launches a new taproom in New Albany.
Fistful of Tacos, located at 2708 Paoli Pike in New Albany, is preparing to open a brewpub called Fistful of Ale in the space adjoining the taco shop. The new space, set to open July 10, includes a bar with a selection of 20 craft beers on tap, specialty cocktails and a menu featuring small plates and appetizers, and it will have both indoor and outdoor seating.
Dereck Washburn, chef and owner of Fistful of Tacos, said the space will eventually operate as a small “nanobrewery” with a selection of beers brewed in-house, but amid the pandemic, Fistful of Ale has faced delays in receiving the state license to sell its own beers, according to Washburn. There will be a large selection of local beers on tap with an emphasis on Indiana breweries.
The brewery will include “strong-flavored” craft beers such as IPAs, stouts and porters, in addition to lagers to help “transition those people who only like light beer into maybe drinking more craft,” he said.
”We’re really just going to brew a gamut of stuff until we find out what our market really wants, and until we figure that out, we’re really going to focus on those beers,” Washburn said.
Patrons of Fistful of Ale will be able to order from the usual menu of tacos as they dine at the brewpub as well as many new options to choose from. The taproom’s menu will feature “chef-driven” plates with “elevated flavors,” Washburn said.
Bourbon-glazed wings with house-made sauce, sandwiches, fish tacos, cheese boards and bacon-wrapped dates are among the options on the brewpub’s menu.
”There’s no inherent theme other than it’s food you’d want to eat while drinking a beer,” Washburn said.
Fistful of Ale will have about 10 craft cocktails with “big and bold flavors, including margaritas. All of the ingredients in the cocktails will be fresh, and mixers will be made in-house.
”Other than the liquors, we’re making everything,” Washburn said. “We’re making our syrups, which are made with fresh ingredients like fresh basil, fresh cilantro, using real sugar cane for the syrups and then adding some additional flavorings to really boost up the flavor profile.”
The margarita varieties include a classic lime drink steeped in fresh cilantro, mango habanero and pineapple cinnamon.
For Washburn, expanding the Fistful of Tacos business has been like “watching a baby grow.”
”I call all of our trucks our children – each one is like a different child that has its unique problems and has its unique advantages... it really is like seeing something grow from infancy,” he said. “We’ve grown this company internally without having to take outside money, and I think it says a lot about our staff more than anything.”