So, is rád gendered depending on the subject? eg. muž má rád pivo, žena má ráda pivo, dítě má rádo pivo
yes, it is a special kind of adjective with adverbial meaning.
when is má ráda simply "likes" and when is it "prefer"? Or am I confusing things
Mít rád is "to like," while mít raději is "to prefer." :-)
So the literal translation here is "Zofie has a liking for beer"? When using ráda it always has to be proceeded with má or similar?
No, not really. That would be something different. Like "má zálíbení v pivu" "má zálibu v pivu" "má náklonnost k pivu".
It is just that "mít rád" = "to like". German has the same "gern haben".