San Marcos,
12:01 PM

Brewing Beer Is a Passion for Young Alum

By Brian Hiro

Hayden Weir wanted to brew beer before he was old enough to drink it. 

The interest originated when Weir and a friend, as a fun experiment, tried one of those five-gallon Mr. Beer home-brew kits that you can buy at your local Target. It blossomed at Cal State San Marcos when he discovered that San Diego is home to a colossal, $1 billion craft beer industry.  

By the time he was in his first job, at Five Guys burger restaurant in San Marcos during the summer before his third year at CSUSM in 2015, Weir had decided that he wanted to learn the trade at a local brewery – even if he had to start off by working for free. 

Little did he know that his future employer was located just down the street. 

The manager of Five Guys was friends with Steve Munson, the owner of a nearby brewery called Dos Desperados that he had founded the previous year, and he convinced Munson to give Weir a shot. Weir was hired in June 2015, a little more than a month after his 21st birthday 

Three-and-half years later, at age 24, he’s Dos Desperados’ head brewer, likely one of the youngest ones in perhaps the nation’s biggest market for craft beer. 

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it now,” Weir said. “I’m so young in this industry. People have been doing it so long. I’m a head brewer and trying all these local breweries, and I’m in groups on Facebook seeing these people doing so much crazier stuff than I am.” 

Weir started at Dos Desperados as a part-time apprentice. He would clean the outside of the tanks. He would tend bar. He would obsessively observe every aspect of the brewing process, taking copious mental notes along the way. And since his baseball schedule was light that summer – from Torrance, he attended CSUSM on an athletic scholarship and pitched for four seasons – Weir also doubled up at Five Guys for a spell. 

“It was a good summer, getting free burgers and fries and some free beer,” he joked. “I didn’t have to hate working two jobs because they had pretty good perks.” 

Weir switched to a full-time schedule at Dos Desperados after he graduated from CSUSM with a degree in environmental studies in May 2017. He gradually took on more of the brewing duties and was officially promoted to head brewer last April, after his predecessor, a seasoned veteran in the field, moved back to his home state of New Hampshire to start his own brewery.