How Idlewild helped a craft brewer make their own bespoke beer

To celebrate their eighth album (and first release in six years) Everything Ever Written, Scottish rockers Idlewild are launching a limited edition beer with help from Edinburgh brewery Barney’s Beer.

Scottish Fiction IPA was chosen by the band themselves – all beer drinkers – and takes its name from 2002 album track ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’.

Both album and beer will be launched tonight (6 Feb) at a special event at Edinburgh’s Summerhall, where Barney’s Beer is brewed. Scottish Fiction IPA will be on tap as Everything Ever Written is given a spin in full to fans for the first time, after which members of Idlewild will be DJ-ing until the wee hours.

Even if you aren’t going to the launch night, you’ll still have the chance to enjoy this craft beer at home while listening to Everything Ever Written after its official release on February 16.

We caught up with Barney himself (of Barney’s Beer fame) to find out about the bespoke brewing process and – more importantly – where we can get our hands on a bottle or two.

Hi Barney, can you describe how the Scottish Fiction IPA will look and taste?

“A golden coloured beer with a light caramel flavour and bright fruity/citrus aroma.”

What was the process for matching the beer to Idlewild’s new album?

“We tried a range of beers from light to dark and weak to strong. The band wanted something that would have broad appeal so we hit on a mid-strength (4.8%) ABV IPA. They then talked about how a lot of the songs had been written on Mull and the west coast and were weaved together from Scottish Folk, Hebridean psychedelia, Americana and American alternative rock influences. So this got me to thinking that Scottish malt and American hops would mirror the musical ingredients.

“We also have a small side project where we have used the same base beer but fermented it with a wild yeast strain. There are only three cases of this, we’ll keep it for a special occasion.”


Did the band already know their stuff about brewing, or did you teach them a trick or two?

“They had a really good knowledge of beer. We talked about different styles, their merits and how they might connect with the new album. They also had an input into the [label] design. There are some fun details which should make sense to fans to look out for.”

Idlewild Barney's Beer IPA label

What are you most looking forward to about the launch party?

“Hopefully there will be lots of folks who are new to Barney’s, but for those who aren’t this is a totally new beer.  I’m also looking forward to hearing the rest of the album. We have 6 Music on in the brewery so I’ve heard the singles so far.”

Where can we buy some Scottish Fiction IPA for ourselves?

“The beer will be available at a number of Edinburgh independent retailers such as Vino Wines, Great Grog and Cork & Cask. Also available at Good Spirits in Glasgow and Frasers Fruit & Veg in Dundee. It will be available nationally online via You can also try the beer on tap at the Royal Dick at Summerhall – for a limited time only!”

Beer fans can follow Barney’s Beer on Facebook and Twitter for updates and information on future collaborations.

Listen to new album track ‘Collect Yourself’

More Edinburgh tips:

A beer lover’s guide to Edinburgh
A guide to the best restaurants in Edinburgh
10 of the best independent boutiques in Edinburgh
19 fascinating things to do for book lovers in Edinburgh 25 things you might not know you can do in Edinburgh

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