Beer, Belgium, Turin: Davide De Giorgi and his two hours.

The smell of hops is unmistakable, but difficult to explain. It is unique and, precisely for this reason, trying to describe it is practically impossible. «You're wrong – Davide interrupts me – we define it as a mix of herbaceous, citric, citrus, spicy, floral, earthy, resinous and fruity scents». We burst into laughter as we shake hands: if we start like this, I think, I can't imagine what the day will hold for us .

It's morning and it's kind of cool to walk into a brewery at this time of day. We are used to associating this environment with moments of relaxation and fun, from 6 pm onwards, to give you an idea. And yet, obviously but without often thinking about it, there are people who, right from dawn, dedicate their body and mind to ensuring that we can sit at a counter, order a beer and decree that the working day is over. David is one of them.

But Davide is also a bicycle enthusiast. One of those who jumps on the saddle as soon as he can: two hours a week to distract himself a bit, a long weekend, a few kilometers of commuting or to visit customers. This is how two worlds come together that only those who attend both know how close they are.

«I'm not sure why but, for no specific reason, I started following cycling in the early 90s, starting to watch the great tours on TV. I had time to passionately love and hate Bugno, Chiappucci and Rominger, in the hope that they could oust Indurain, whose class I have only really understood in more recent times. It goes without saying how much I enjoyed the whole Pantani era, the challenges with Tonkov and Ulrich, and all that fantastic '98», Davide tells me as he accurately illustrates the corporate production process of the Edit Brewing brewery.

«What moments then with the various Tafi, Bartoli, Bettini. There was no Classic or stage of a grand tour that I didn't follow on television and, when possible, live. But it all ended there. My sport was snowboarding, the life I wanted was in the mountains, my dream was to become an instructor. I came very close, but weak knees and an empty wallet made me resign myself to everyday life. So I continued to be a salesman, without too much inspiration, as an agent in the furniture field».

It's a river in flood, Davide, as he talks about his life. A story like many others, common, but exceptional for this very reason.
As we prepare for the afternoon trip, however, everything changes. Drinks, courses, chats, more drinks, more courses and more talks: the world of craft beer becomes a fulcrum in Davide's daily life, and it is the starting point for a turning point.
«It takes me a while but in the end I give up everything and decide it's time for a change. Opportunities to work in the world of beer were few, but Belgium comes my way. For a couple of years I lived on bread and water, but slowly I joined the friendly staff of a start-up importing Belgian beers. Dozens of van rides in what becomes for me a bit of a promised land and a bit of a second home. Obviously for the beer, but also for their boundless passion for the bike».

"By the way, do you know how they taught me to call beer there?"
“Shoot,” I reply.
"Social lube!"
Perfect timing: we put two drops of oil on the chain, inflate the tires and we are ready for our two hours.

With the last pennies left in the account, for his 40th birthday, Davide buys the first bike worthy of the name. «It has taken me to every place where injuries have allowed me to arrive and I still use it constantly. I still rejoice thinking of the satisfaction of the first time I arrived at the Faro della Vittoria, at the top of Colle della Maddalena, in Turin. And to think that it has now become one of my weekly rounds».

The Piedmontese capital is one of those cities where, a bike lover, can go wild. Davide explains it well, between one pedal stroke and another. «La Panoramica, Superga and the whole Turin hill. In an instant you are in the middle of a wood and you can train on slopes that are not to be laughed at. Then there are the parks, where I invent cyclocross rides: asphalt, gravel, ramps, cobblestones, counterslopes, humidity. In short, in Belgium I not only learned all the secrets of beer, but also that you can go everywhere by bike!».

Saturday, as happens to almost everyone, is the day of the long. No work commitments, beer only as post-pedal nourishment, and many kilometers to grind in the valleys. «It's bizarre: the older I get, the more kilometers I can cover in the saddle. Now it's a joy to climb those very mountains on two wheels that, until fifteen years ago, I wanted to be my life. Now they are part of it anyway, albeit in a different way».

We go back to the brewery, to exchange the last words. Davide is serene, you can see it from his eyes. «I work as Sales Manager at EDIT Brewing. I stay in my world, I stay commercial, but I'm happy about it. The issues are always the same but the world of beer is undoubtedly more cheerful, more interesting, evolving and continues to fascinate me, like the bike. I don't stamp the clock and I alternate full weeks, with twelve-hour days of work, with others where I can manage my time, and enjoy the two hours in the saddle every day.

It doesn't matter if in the sun or in the rain: it's my two hours. It is now a necessity: to experience those moments in which we isolate ourselves from everything and everyone, from the cars around us, from people talking on the phone. To find, pedaling, that silence that only a little effort and a sky within sight can give. A simple, but by no means trivial, outdoor tour which obviously ends at the counter, ready to receive a good freshly tapped beer crowned by its foam hat».